Have You Been Injured by a Texting Driver in Chicago?
It is amazing what people will do in their vehicles—while they are supposed to be driving:
- Putting on makeup
- Tying a tie
- Putting on or taking off a sweater or jacket
- Rubber-necking at an accident or some other roadside spectacle
- Changing radio stations
- Chatting with passengers
- Reaching for something on the ground
- Talking on the telephone
Fifty years ago, drivers could engage in some of the activities listed above. Fifteen years ago, drivers could engage in any of these activities.
Today, they can do even more: the advent of smartphones means that there are new distractions on the list of activities that inattentive drivers engage in:
- Surfing the web
- Reading email
Examples of Distracted Driving Accidents
Not only can drivers engage in these activities, but they too often do—and, frequently, with tragic results. Here are several examples of distracted driving cases in the news:
- A woman was paying her bills via her handheld device while driving. She slammed into a line of stopped cars, killing the driver in front of her. She went to prison for vehicular manslaughter.
- On Ewing Avenue in Chicago, a 70-year old man got into a fender-bender one morning. He got out of his car to inspect the damage and to call 911 when he was hit by a passing car. The at-fault driver was on Facebook at the time of the accident.
- A 77-year old woman was fatally hit in a head-on collision by an 18-year-old girl who swerved over the centerline. The young woman’s phone records indicated that she sent and received a series of 15 text messages in the period immediately preceding the accident. The teen then had to face gross negligence and vehicular homicide charges.
- A woman was texting while driving and hit a drain pipe, flipping her car several times before she got pinned in the overturned car against a tree. The car caught fire and she was trapped. Although she survived, she had burn injuries over 70 percent of her body and had over 30 surgeries as a result. She now speaks out against texting and driving.
The National Safety Council estimates that about 24 percent of all traffic crashes are due to motorists texting or speaking on their cell phones. That is the equivalent of approximately 1.2 million accidents per year.
Texting While Driving is Illegal in Illinois
Texting while driving can be even more dangerous than drunk driving. An informal test carried out by Car & Driver Magazine put a driver behind the wheel of a car under different scenarios. They did this to find out how much these different activities affect different braking reaction times. The results were sobering:
- When the driver had no distractions and sober, it took .54 seconds to apply the brakes;
- If the driver was legally drunk (0.08% BAC), his braking distance increased by 4 feet;
- When he was reading an email, the distance was an additional 32 feet (36 feet total);
- If texting, the braking distance was an additional 24 feet (70 feet total).
It is illegal in Illinois to text and drive at the same time. Specifically, Illinois law states:
- “A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.”
Limited exceptions to the Illinois Texting Law
The only exceptions are:
- If texting to report to or communicate with emergency personnel in an emergency situation
- A hands-free device
- If the driver parks off of the roadway
- When completely stopped due to a traffic obstruction, and the vehicle gearshift is in neutral or park
Teen Drivers and Texting
The dangers of texting and operating a motor vehicle at the same time are very real. Thirteen percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 involved in car accidents admit to texting or using their cell-phones at the time of the accident. And, that is just those who admit fault.
Part of the issue is many young drivers are dramatically overconfident of their driving abilities.
- 55 percent of young adults think it is easy to text and drive at the same time
- 77 percent of them are confident that they can safely text while driving
One can only hope that many of them will learn the truth before a tragic accident. The resulting accident can be catastrophic for both the teen driver and other innocent victims.
Texting and Driving is Not Worth the Risk
Any type of vehicle accident is unpleasant for the victims. Accidents that lead to injuries or fatalities make them even more devastating.
Sometimes accidents are almost unavoidable: icy roads, faulty brakes, low visibility from fog or rain, or a tree that has fallen across the road. However, texting accidents are completely avoidable.
There are estimates that nearly 100,000 drivers crash each year while texting. But it is not just their own lives they are risking.
When an accident is caused by the negligence of a texting driver, there are sometimes no words to describe the anguish of accident victims or their families. Especially when there are fatalities.
Can any message ever be important enough to risk an innocent person’s life?
Contact a Chicago Texting Accident Lawyer at Abels & Annes
State laws can redress the criminal aspects of such negligence and recklessness. However, it is up to individual citizens to enforce civil justice. Accident victims need to make sure that texting drivers pay for the injuries and damage they cause.
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes strongly feel that those who cause injuries by such behavior should answer for their negligence. We welcome the opportunity to represent plaintiffs with injuries from an accident caused by a texting driver.
At Abels & Annes, we know what our clients go through. We represent drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others who receive injuries due to negligence or recklessness.
When we take a case, we do our best to make sure that our clients receive all the compensation they deserve. Further, we try to make their lives whole again. This is especially true if a client is suffering devastating injuries, including serious and debilitating spinal and head injuries.