Our accident lawyers have been working with clients since 1992, and in that time we have witnessed the implications of the technological and social revolution first hand. Unfortunately, the same tools that make our lives easier everywhere else can be one of our single greatest risk factors when operating a car. Today, our day-to-day lives involve everything from cutting edge technology like new GPS’s, smart phones, Mp3 players, DVD players, and Sirius satellite radios, to old favorites like our friends and family, and we must balance all of this while safely driving our vehicles.
To put it bluntly, we live in a world full of distractions. In 2011, 3,331 traffic fatalities, and 387,000 injuries occurred as the direct result of someone being distracted while driving. While some technology, such as the hands free voice command technology available in new automobiles, can serve to minimize the amount of time that a driver must take his or her hands or eyes off the road in order to perform a taste, other technologies, such as smart phones, seem to just be making matters worse.
Sending or receiving a text can take a driver’s eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. To put that into perspective, if you are driving on an average highway, that is the equivalent to driving well over the length of a football field without seeing a thing. With this in mind, it is easy to see why text messaging behind the wheel can create a situation where a driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than an undistracted motorist. Still, cell phones are ubiquitous in 2013, and most Illinois residents rely on them to some extent professionally and socially. In just the month of June last year, nearly 200 billion text messages were sent and received in the United States, which is up almost 50% since just two years ago. (Distraction.gov)
These statistics are evidence that cell phone usage is growing, and their place in daily life isn’t going anywhere any time soon. We aren’t arguing for a prohibition on cell phones, however, our lawyers would like to remind you that for your own safety, it is always safer to wait until you get from point A to point B to send that next text message, or conduct that next crucially important Google search. Your safety is the most important thing when behind the wheel, and these things can wait, no matter how badly you want to know what Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air looks like now that he has lost all that weight.
(Now that you have returned from quickly tabbing over and Googling Uncle Phil) Our lawyers believe that one statistic is more telling than any other, 18% of all injury crashes are distraction-affected accidents. In other words, they are 100% preventable. We can each do our part to take a chunk out of traffic accident statistics nationwide if we just put down the cell phones and remember drive safely.