Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver in Chicago?
The Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers at Abels & Annes are very familiar with the bad habits that cause crashes:
- Phone Calls
- Checking email
- Deciding what music to listen to
- Catching up on news
- Posting updates on social media sites
- Getting directions for where you are going
- Viewing advertisements and videos
Keeping up on all of the activities that technology places at our fingertips is distracting. Drivers are often making the dangerous—and in some cases deadly—mistake of using their smartphones to undertake these activities while they are driving.
Cell phones are one of the primary sources of distracted driving. They can be used by drivers for chatting or texting with friends, checking emails, or consulting a map.
But there are other activities that can distract a driver from concentrating on the road. For example:
- Electronic billboards
- Eating fast-food
- Applying makeup
- Finding a better radio station
- Adjusting the A/C system
- Talking with passengers
No matter which way you look at it, driving is serious business. Sending a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 MPH, you would travel the length of a football field with your eyes off the road. When a driver is texting or reading an email and gets into a crash, that accident is inexcusable.
How Often Do Cell Phones Cause Car Accidents?
Although fast food and chatty car-mates have been around for 50 plus years, cell phones have not. So, it is only in recent years that the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency has sought to compile statistics on distractions. The NHTSA found that in 2018 alone, distracted driving was the cause of:
- 400,000 accident injuries
- 1,730 driver deaths
- 605 passenger fatalities
- 400 pedestrian deaths
- 77 bicyclist fatalities
- 2,841 total accident deaths
Further, the NHTSA says that in 2017 that:
- 2.9 percent of drivers were distracted by cell phones
- 9 percent of all fatal crashes were related to distractions
- 229 teens ages 15-19 were killed in distracted driving accidents
NHTSA leads the national effort to save lives by preventing this dangerous behavior. Get the facts, get involved, and help us keep America’s roads safe.
What Are the Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois?
State lawmakers are well aware of the use of cell phones by drivers and their involvement in accidents. Accordingly, nearly every state has enacted some type of regulation regarding cell phone use behind the wheel.
In Illinois, current law prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones, texting or using other forms of electronic communication while driving. However, if you are age 19 or older, you use Bluetooth or hands-free devices.
You can only use a cell phone that is not hands-free when you are:
- Parked on the shoulder of the road
- Stopped due to a traffic obstruction and your vehicle is in neutral or park
- Reporting an emergency situation
Further, cell phone use is illegal for all bus drivers and drivers under the age of 19, and for all drivers while in a school zone or in a highway construction zone.
How Often Are Teens Involved in Distracted Driving Accidents?
Yet despite these laws, accidents caused by texting and talking continue to happen. Sadly, the culprits are disproportionately younger drivers.
Drivers under 25 have grown up using cell phones. They have an unreasonably optimistic view of their capabilities in terms of driving safely while using a cell phone for texting or talking.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 16 percent, or about one-sixth, of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under 20 years of age. But of course, they are not the only ones guilty of infractions.
In a survey of all U.S. drivers, 69% report using their cell phone for calls while driving within the 30 days before the survey. Further, 31% report that they had read or sent text or email messages at least once while driving within the 30 days before the survey.
It is heartbreaking when you suffer serious injuries or someone you love loses their life in a vehicle accident. But it can be even worse to learn that the driver did not just make an unfortunate mistake, but was behaving recklessly by purposely diverting his or her attention away from driving to make a phone call or to send a message.
Contact a Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have extensive experience representing the victims of car accidents. It’s our business to pursue negligent drivers. Especially those drivers who willfully disobey traffic laws specifically designed for their own safety and the safety of other users of the road.
Whether an accident victim is a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist, we are here to help. If you have been injured in a crash, contact the distracted driving accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Call (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation, or contact us online today.