DIGGING DEEPER: Rockford Police see slight increase in tickets f - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

DIGGING DEEPER: Rockford Police see slight increase in tickets for distracted driving

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

"Those numbers are going to go up," that's what then Assistant Deputy Chief Patrick Hoey said in May of 2015 about cracking down on distracted drivers when at that point police only gave out 14 tickets for distracted driving. 

Since then, the department says it's seen a steady increase in the number of tickets issued.

"We're really trying to step up the efforts and as more and more people have cell phones," Sgt. David Nicosia, with the Rockford Police Department. "Obviously, it becomes more and more of a problem." 

So exactly how many more citations is the department handing out to people driving who are on their cell phones, putting on make up or doing something else they shouldn't be doing behind the wheel? 

In 2016,  the department issued 117 tickets for distracted driving. Last year, that number nearly doubled to 231. 

It's an increase Barry Molencupp with the Drive-Right School of Driving says he would like to see happen more often. 

"If the word starts to get out that police are starting to crack down on cell phone usage, I'm sure people will start to take a second thought on whether they should get their phone out while driving," he says.  

If you absolutely need to check your phone while you're in the car, police say the best thing you can do is pull over in a nearby parking lot. Or, if you're driving with a buddy hand your phone off to them to send that email or text while you keeping on driving to get where you're going.

"I think it comes down to common sense," Nicosia says. "You have to focus on the road first and have a responsibility as a driver in the community." 

According to the Illinois State Police, it's ticketed more than 3,000 people for distracted driving so far this year. 

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