Today, in this week’s series of entries on the major causes of serious accidents, we wanted to address the growing problem of texting while driving. With new innovations such as the iPhone’s Siri, as well as other smart phone applications that allow drivers to dictate a message into their phone, our Illinois auto accident lawyers thought that it could be beneficial to remind our readers of the dangers and risks involved with texting while driving.
A Chicago auto accident lawyer at our firm witnessed a near-accident recently and noted that the perpetrator was driving with one hand on the wheel and the other on his iPhone. We cannot stress enough the dangers of texting while driving. One alarming statistic that we came across was posted by Distracion.gov and stated that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident. In the state of Illinois, there are bans on all cellphone use for bus drivers and novice drivers, as well as a ban on texting for all drivers and the use of cellphones while in a school zone or construction zone. This being said, drivers should not only avoid cellphone use according to these parameters, but should avoid cellphone use at all time. Texting while driving is so dangerous because it involves all three main types of distractions (visual, manual, and cognitive). It requires drivers to take their eyes, hands, and mind off of the road for several seconds.
Young adults, who are between the ages of 18 to 24, are most likely to talk on their cellphones and text while driving. This being said, parents and educators need to focus on the dangers of cellphone use while driving. When texting while driving, drivers often forget that they share the roads with other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and that these people can become harmed by this careless practice.
Stricter enforcement of the texting while driving ban, in addition to educating younger and less experienced drivers about the risks of texting, can help to reduce the amount of texters on the road. Even though technological advances such as Siri and other dictation applications make it easier to text without taking your eyes of the road, it is still dangerous because often times the sender will double check the message or edit it in some way, once again involving all three types of distractions.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys highly encourage drivers to turn their phones off while driving, or should be answering a call or sending a text be absolutely necessary, safely pull over to do so. These types of accidents have been proven to be fatal, and are completely avoidable and preventable.