Sheriff Mark Curran and Circuit Court Clerk Keith Brin Kickoff Anti-Texting while Driving Campaign

Above, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran speaks at Tuesday’s anti-texting and driving campaign in Mundelein. – Jeanne Polydoris photos

Citation and Court Costs could total $250

by Tina Johansson

Lake County officials have no tolerance for texting while driving. And it’s for your own good.

On Tuesday, July 26, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and Circuit Court Clerk Keith Brin kicked off the “Drop It And Drive/Stay Alive” campaign which begins immediately and runs through Labor Day.

Joining them at the Mundelein Branch Court was Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose; physician Aaron S. Epstein of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital; Lake County Chiefs of Police Association; Lake County Department of Transportation; and AAA.

Tragedies are so much worse when they could have been avoided. Texting while driving is 100 percent avoidable.” – Emergency Room Physician Dr. Aaron Epstein

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the “100 deadliest days” of the year when teen car crashes are at their highest, said officials.

According to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, crashes involving drivers ages 16-19 increased 16% during the “100 deadliest days,” compared to other days of the year.  Additionally, AAA statistics show six out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction.  These statistics can be reduced through education and enforcement.

Lake County Law Enforcement and their traffic safety partners will be working collaboratively to educate motorists about the dangers of texting and driving and traffic safety patrols will be enforcing the cell phone ban during the “Drop It And Drive/Stay Alive” campaign which began yesterday.

The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the “100 deadliest days” of the year when teen car crashes are at their highest.

“Our office is the central clearing house for citations issued throughout the county and unfortunately for those cases resulting in the loss of life,” said Mr. Brin. “The numbers both locally and nationally reflect a need to take action on this public safety issue and public health epidemic.”

Keith Brin, Lake County circuit court clerk, speaks
Lake County Circuit Court Clerk Keith Brin addresses the crowd stating the statistics of young drivers getting into accidents while texting has become an epidemic, and there is “a need to take action.”

“It takes only one text to change a car ride with friends into a serious or deadly car accident,” said Dr. Epstein. “Distracted driving is a top public health concern because of the growing number of vehicle accidents that result from unfocused drivers. As an emergency medicine physician, I see the results of distracted driving — car accident victims who come to our trauma unit. Many times, they are teenagers and young drivers who just don’t understand the forever consequences of not paying attention to the road for a few seconds.

“Just like wearing seat belts has become the norm, so too should putting away cell phones before getting behind the wheel,” Epstein said. “Tragedies are so much worse when they could have been avoided. Texting while driving is 100 percent avoidable.”

Sheriff Mark Curran noted the support of local law enforcement “from Antioch to Highland Park, Kildeer and Lake Zurich to Libertyville as well as Round Lake and Round Lake Park – this is a county-wide campaign with many partners. This campaign will save lives and hefty fines,” Curran added, referencing the average cost of a citation including court costs at nearly $250.

Undersheriff Ray Rose concluded the press conference with a challenge to the public: “And now we challenge you, the community to join us. Parents speak to your kids, coaches and teachers speak to your students – join us and set the example – Drop It And Drive/Stay Alive.”

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