Illinois State Police Stress Safety Following Bus Crash

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People who make their living behind the wheel have a great responsibility for safety, that’s why punishment for distracted driving can be so severe.

It was a scene that looked worse than it turned out to be: a Cadillac mangled after driving into the underside of a bus.  Its driver was extricated and rushed to the hospital, but not seriously injured.  Paramedics checked those onboard the bus.  Many took another bus to local hospitals for minor injuries. 

Police say a bus driver was using his cell phone while driving, causing the crash.  It’s a scene Illinois State Police Lt. Carl Heintz says should send a message to all commercial drivers.

“For you to have a commercial driver’s license, it’s a lot harder to get and it’s a lot harder to keep,” said Heintz.

Not only are the dangers of distracted driving more severe for commercial drivers, but the penalties are too.  Up to nearly $3,000 in fines, potentially the loss of their commercial license, and if the accident involves injury, possible criminal prosecution.

“We would present facts to the State’s Attorney’s office if they were going to enhance any charges.

The penalties are steep because the risks are high.

“That distraction, [even for] one second, two seconds… is all it takes to open up to problems,” said Truck Driver Training Program Coordinator Mark Sandoval.

Sandoval says he teaches that there’s no room for distraction in the driver’s seat.

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