Distracted driving 101 . . .
It’s no secret texting and using a handheld mobile device while driving is toxic, illegal and frequently deadly.
But brake on this mobile shocker!
• To wit: According to Chicago Police Department statistics obtained by Sneed, there were only 168 Chicago traffic citations for the improper use of mobile devices in 2016 — compared with 45,672 two years earlier in 2014!
So what gives?
“It seems hard to believe, but when we received these shocking statistics we were stunned,” said Ald. Edward Burke (14th), who said Chicago traffic citations and violations in 2015 had already started dropping dramatically to 26,092!
“But the dramatic dip not only went down to 168 in 2016 — but as of April 2017, only 74 have been issued!
“Something happened,” Burke said.
“We are still looking into the reason for these statistics,” a Chicago Law Department source told Sneed.
• Backshot: Burke claims he and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) came across the shocking stats while “investigating the possibility of requiring the police to use a Textalyzer device that could determine whether a driver involved in an accident was on the phone at the time of the crash.
“So now we are trying to find out why the issuance of tickets for the offenses has dropped so precipitously,” Burke added.
“Whatever the reason, be assured we will correct it one way or another.”
• A national note: “It’s distressing to see what’s happening across the country,” he said. “The stats show the most frequent cause of serious traffic accidents is the use of mobile phones and texting devices while driving — so we need to revitalize the effort led four years ago by Secretary of State Jesse White to enforce these traffic laws.”
Surprisingly, a recent report stated since Illinois law banned the use of handheld devices while driving in 2014, state police have issued just over 31,000 tickets for the offense.
Hmmm . . .
At least one news organization claimed convicted killer/former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who was discovered hanged in his cell at a correctional center in Massachusetts, had a Bible verse written on his forehead. John 3:16.
Look it up.
Burke’s brickbat . . .
Ald. Burke is still fuming over the way he claims the City Council was misled by the Chicago Police Department’s press office, which Sneed reported Wednesday.
The Irish pol was so angry, he blasted CPD’s Director of News Affairs, Anthony Guglielmi, during a City Council meeting Wednesday, claiming the budget appropriation for his department was $343,746 — but the actual total expenditures for salaries was $2,535,468 because more than two dozen police had been dispatched to CPD’s press office.
“I don’t know about you, but I frankly am embarrassed that I have been fooled in such a dramatic way,” said the alderman. “Why do we spend hour after hour, day after day, week after week, sitting here in budget hearings only to discover that we have been deceived and played for fools?
“It is clear beyond any doubt that we simply can believe nothing that the police department tells us. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Henceforth, I will never agree to take testimony from witnesses unless they are placed under oath.
“We should demand an apology from whomever presented this phony budget — we should demand that these police officers be sent back to the districts where they belong to fight crime, and if this press posse needs 28 people — which I do not believe — they should be civilian employees.
“We should also begin to determine how much more of this appropriation ordinance is a sham. To do less is simply a betrayal of the voters who sent us here to serve in the legislative branch of this government.
“I respectfully urge the chairman of the Budget Committee to convene hearings to get to the bottom of this embarrassment. Perhaps this can be the first task of the new Deputy Inspector General [Dr. Laura Kunard] – find out how many other lies we have been told.
“I suspect Mr. Guglielmi must have been having quite a laugh over how he fooled the dumb alderman, but there is an old adage: ‘He who laughs last laughs loudest.’
“These dozens of police officers should be back in the districts from which they were detailed today fighting crime – not sitting at Police Headquarters helping Mr. Guglielmi create fake news.”
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: Former boxing champ Evander Holyfield spotted at Gibsons last week. . . . Today’s birthdays: Miranda Kerr, 34; Shemar Moore, 47; Jessica Lange, 68, and Keith Nowakowski, priceless.Tweets by @sneedlings