Tollway: Use our free Wi-Fi, don't text and drive

For those who must call or text while on the road, the Illinois tollway is promoting stopping at oases with free Wi-Fi as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and tollway officials kicked off a public education campaign Monday by advising drivers of "Safe Phone Zones" at the six oases on the Tri-State and Jane Addams tollways.

Illinois bans drivers from using hand-held phones and electronic devices while behind the wheel. However, a Daily Herald one-hour survey at selected suburban intersections in October found more than 1,000 people breaking the law enacted in 2014.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration estimates 660,000 drivers are using a phone or electronic device while driving at any given moment in the U.S.

A total of 3,328 people died in distracted-driving related crashes in 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports.

Some of the most vulnerable are young drivers. AAA estimates distractions are a factor in 58 percent of moderate to serious crashes with teen drivers.

After analyzing 1,700 in-vehicle videos focusing on the 6 seconds leading up to a crash, researchers concluded using phones and interacting with friends were most likely to be factors.

Chatting with other passengers ranked highest, occurring in 15 percent of crashes. Using a cellphone occurred in 12 percent of crashes.

Other distractions leading up to a crash included: looking away from the road at something in the vehicle, gazing at something outside the vehicle, singing or moving to music, grooming, and reaching for something in the car,

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