Nearly 300 cars passed Hinsdale South High School between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Aug. 27. Thirteen of those drivers were on the phone. Six more were texting.
Handheld cellphone use is illegal in school zones, and everywhere for drivers 18 and younger. While the high school falls under the duties of the Darien Police Department, Burr Ridge officers routinely keep an eye on drivers at its four schools, said Burr Ridge Police Chief John Madden.
“It’s very important to us to have officers in the school zones,” he said.
Madden said the presence of a marked squad car likely acts as a reminder, if not a deterrent, to those who might otherwise be tempted to speed or use their phones.
But the elimination of handheld cellphones won’t eliminate all of the potential driver distractions. While approaching a red light at 75th and Clarendon Hills Road, one young driver struggled to see as her unruly passenger covered her eyes with his hand.
Whether it’s due to a rowdy passenger, a cellphone, or any other distraction, looking away from the road for even a single second can lead to disaster, Madden said.
Hinsdale South High School Principal Brian Waterman said the school works hard to regularly remind students of the dangers of distracted driving. The school’s driver education program includes an entire unit on distracted driving.
But not all of the drivers seen violating the cellphone law at Hinsdale South were students.
“It is no secret that this is a major problem in society and it will take a continued emphasis from an educational and legislative perspective to continue to address it,” Waterman said.