PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and police want to remind drivers to rethink picking up that cell phone next time they’re behind the wheel.

John Shallenberger, Tazewell County Sheriff Deputy, said, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving causes 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. Shallenbereger said the records shows distracted driving caused 3,142 deaths in 2019.

Shallenberger said driving distracted, whether on the phone or eating, greatly increases the risk of crashing, causing multiple vehicle crashes, or hitting a pedestrian. He said the most distracted drivers are young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

“We’re seeing higher numbers of them being involved in crashes by texting, so that’s one of the things we really want to concentrate on is talking to our teen drivers, talking to the parents,” Shallengberger said. “One of the big things we can do with them, if a parent is being a good example and is not texting and driving, it helps educate their child also.”

Shallenberger urges people to put the phone away or have a passenger be your designated texter while driver.