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Smart Phone Use, Text Messaging: An Increasingly Common Cause in Car Accidents

We’ve all seen them; the people who meander around the sidewalks with their heads down, staring obliviously into the screen of their smart phones. Honestly, if there were a manhole ten feet in front of them, they would all probably walk right into it. Now imagine that same lack of attentiveness, but behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds. With technology becoming a ubiquitous part of our day-to-day lives, distracted driving has become a huge problem, a problem that injured nearly 400,000 people last year, and smart phone use is one of the main culprits.

By definition, ‘distracted driving’ can include any activity that has the potential to divert your attention away from your primary task of driving. Eating, drinking, doing your hair, using a navigation system, and even talking to a passenger can do this, but because of the fact that smart phones require the visual, manual, and cognitive focus of the driver, it is by far the most hazardous distraction of all. A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that a quarter of all teen drivers respond to one or more text messages every time they drive, and 21% of all fatal car accidents for this demographic can be directly attributed to cell phone usage.

But this is more than just a teenage problem. At any one time, it is estimated that some 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones or manipulating a smart device while driving, and this number has held fairly steady since 2010. What many people don’t realize, is that every time they send or receive a text message, they take their eyes and minds off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If you are cruising down the highway at 70 miles an hour, that’s the equivalent of driving well over 100 yards completely blind, and this is when deadly accidents happen. In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to text and drive, and there’s also a ban on all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, for novice drivers. 41 other states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam feature similar laws, but unfortunately many people are only caught after they have hurt someone else or themselves. (Distracted.gov)

When you get into your car and start the engine, you are operating an incredibly large, powerful, and potentially dangerous machine. Reckless and negligent drivers claim thousands of lives every year, and the most disturbing aspect of this fact is that 100% of these accidents were preventable. Our lawyers have devoted our careers to ensuring that the victims of accidents caused by careless people aren’t unnecessarily penalized. With mounting medical bills, higher insurance costs, and lost wages, serious injuries can take a terrible toll on a family. If you or someone you know has been injured by a negligent driver, call us, we will get you the compensation that you deserve, and return your peace of mind.