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April Marks Distracted Driving Month

Earlier this week, MySuburbanLife.com released a news report confirming the month of April as Distracted Driving Month. In light of the emphasis placed on the harms and dangers associated with distracted driving, our Chicago car accident lawyers urge our readers to become more educated on the topic and its increasing epidemic.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” More often than not, these distractions endanger the lives of the driver, passengers, surrounding motor vehicles, pedestrians, as well as, bicyclists that may be traveling in close range.

Any Chicago accident lawyer will tell you that some of the most common driver distractions include activities such as: texting, talking on a cellular telephone, reading roadmaps, adjusting the vehicle’s radio, as well as, eating/drinking.

Under current Illinois law, it is illegal for drivers of any age to text while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, it is also illegal for driver of any type of vehicle to talk on a handheld cellular telephone while traveling through a school zone or a construction zone. Another aspect of Illinois law forbids drivers under the age of 19 from using wireless phones during vehicle travel.

The article points out that teen drivers are more likely than any other age group of drivers to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision in which driver distraction plays a prominent role. Recent statistics shows that 40 percent of teens in the United States admitted to being in a motor vehicle where the driver was using their cellular telephone in a manner that could ultimately cause an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Distraction.gov further highlights the dangerous nature of operating a motor vehicle in a distracted manner. Our Chicago auto accident lawyers learned that in 2009. 5,474 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving driver distraction, while an estimated 448,000 were injured in these accidents.

Sending or receiving texts messages also pose a severe danger to driver safety. Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds – the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. Additionally, the University of Utah found that using a cell phone while driving – whether it’s hand-held or hands-free delays a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 – the legal limit.