Less than 10 percent of all drivers stopped in the Village for using a hand held cellular telephone while driving have been issued tickets as the Deerfield Police Department continues to stress education rather than enforcement.
Since the Village’s ban on driving while using a hand held cell phone went into effect Nov. 1, 1,327 have been stopped and 97 issued citations, according to information provided by the department. The others were given warnings.
“Our intent from the very beginning has been education,” Chief John Sliozis said. “It’s a new law we’re going to continue to educate. It’s hard to enforce when there is not a state wide law.”
Though most communities bordering Chicago—a hands free zone—from the north have similar ordinances, not all do. Highland Park and Lake Forest require an ear piece to talk on a phone while driving but Northbrook does not.
“If you get off the tollway and go west it is legal (to use a hand held device) but if you go east it is not,” Sliozis said. “Our purpose is to inform the motorist.”
In the nine months since police have been primarily warning motorists, Sliozis has noticed a change of behavior among drivers in the Village. “It’s what we intended when it was passed,” he said. “This was an effort to change behavior that a large percentage of the community wanted.”
When tickets have been issued instead of a warning it is often because the original stop was made to give a warning and police found other violations like a driver without a valid license or using the phone in a construction zone.
“We have had cases when there is a stop and there are other violations other than cell phone use like drug paraphernalia,” Sliozis said.