The Evanston Police Department will conduct a Distracted Driving Awareness Month enforcement initiative from  8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.

Officers from the traffic bureau will focus on issuing citations to drivers not abiding by the Evanston ordinance and the state law banning the use of a hand-held electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott says that such enforcement campaigns aren’t very popular, but they’ve proven to be the most effective way of improving compliance with the law.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Distracted Driving

    Dear Commander Parrott,

    Your enforcement campaign is very popular with people like me who are astonished that many drivers ignore the law and are driving distracted, yacking on their cell phones and texting (which IMHO is far more dangerous)… endangering everyone around them and violating state law and civic ordinance.

    Thank you for enforcing this most sensible law.

    Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

    P.S. Yes, I used to yack, now I pull over to a safe place, put the car in park and take the call, or call them back...

  2. No crackdown for elected politicians and city employees

    If you're a city employee or elected politician you can talk on the cell phone while driving as long as it's "for non-personal use in the course of ordinary business in their employment with a City, 
    State or Federal agency or authority."

    In other words, city employees and elected politicians are much more skilled at driving and talking on the cell phone than the rest of us. 

    Do you like the double standard? Happy motoring Thursday! 


    1. We Need Term Limits!

      You are so right. And our politicians are so wrong. We allow this nonsense to continue as we keep incumbants in power. They gave themselves this right and deprived it from you.  Because they think they are better than you.  Really!  The Rise of the Political Class continues! WE NEED TERM LIMITS!!!  

      No term limits?  No problem!  Let's vote oursleves another raise!

      In fact, in Illinois, Public Employees make more than Private Employees!  29% more last measured!  Google it!

      Illinois has the most inefficient government in the nation?  Yup!  Google it!

      Illinois has the most corrupt government in the nation?  Yup!  Google it!

      Illinois is the second most broke state in the nation?  Yup!  Google it!

      No Money? No Problem! Let's vote to make the "temporary" raise in state income tax from 3 to 5% *permanent*!  

      Count on it!  They won't bother to ask you!

  3. From my vantage point on

    From my vantage point on Ridge, I have seen four cars pulled over in the last hour for what appears to be cell phone use. 

  4. Money hungry

    Let's not fool ourselves.  This "crackdown" has a little to do with safety and everything to do with generating revenue. 

    Let's look at their methods…the cops used a guy standing behind a tree on Ridge to "see" who was using a cell phone. I was traveling at 30 miles per hour past that tree with my cell phone sitting on my seat charging. It was NOT up to my ear nor did I have my hand on the phone. 

    Two blocks later, I was pulled over by an unmarked Evanston police car. I was quite stunned as I knew about the crackdown having read about it here the day before and I saw the same unmarked car sitting on that same spot 10 minutes earlier. 

    Imagine my surprise when I was told that I was witnessed by an Evanston officer texting on my phone. I told him that I don't text while driving and was not texting while driving when my car drove past the guy behind the tree who I saw. 

    I offered to show him my charging cell so he could see that I had not sent a text or even received one in the past 20 minutes.  That's when I started my trip and I hear a ding when I get a message but I don't look at the phone unless I pull over.  But there had been no ding and I confirmed it while he stood there and I looked at my phone.  I offered to give him the phone immediately and he could drive it to police headquarters with me (him holding it) where we would have witnesses to the facts that existed on my cell phone. He declined, stating that he was letting me go with a verbal warning. 

    Knowing that I could challenge with facts the baseless assertions of some guy standing behind a tree trying to peer windows of cars traveling past at 30 miles an hour kept me from getting a ticket. But here are the real take aways: is it illegal to have a phone on the seat next to you?  The answer is no. So why is police time spent stopping people when that is the activity involved?

    I support stopping and ticketing motorists with their cell phones to their ears. I support stopping and ticketing people who have their cell phones in their hands. But on the seat charging?  No, that's not right. I should not have had to deal with the time wasted and the indignity of a traffic stop on a highly traveled public street. 

    Knowing this, we all better keep our cell phones under the seat while charging or risk a ticket in Evanston. As I had just come from a short shopping trip on Davis Street (plugging the meter too) perhaps I should do our family's shopping in Skokie where I have never seen officers trying to peer into car windows of vehicles traveling 30 mph so they could issue a ticket for a cell phone sitting charging on a seat. 

    So some of this effort was about getting money, no matter what the facts actually were. 

    1. Mr. Perfect

      So, you got a "warning" rather than a ticket …. Maybe the officer "hiding" made a mistake and the officer that stopped you believed YOU … I know that sounds like crazy talk. Guess what .. police make errors too! I know that is hard to believe, but they DO.

      If your assertation was correct about it just being a revenue maker, the officer would have written you the ticket and made you go to court.

      Do a bit of research on distracted driving .. not just about making money whether you believe it or not …

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