Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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Let’s start with some facts about car accidents and smartphones in America:

  1. In the past two years, the number of pedestrians and cyclists struck and killed has increased by 22%
  2. In the past two years, the total number of FATAL car accidents has risen by 14%
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Distraction can be a dangerous thing, and our young drivers are suffering most of all. In fact, drivers in their 20s make up a staggering 27% of all distracted drivers in fatal car accidents. The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that thousands of people are killed each year in distraction-related crashes, and approximately 424,000 additional people are injured. This number has been steadily rising, and that is a cause for serious concern, especially with technology becoming more and more a part of our drive.

Distracted driving includes any activity that has the potential to divert your attention away from the road when driving. We often have dozens of things to distract us in our vehicles at any one time. It is important to communicate the facts about distracted driving to loved ones and young drivers, to ensure that the next generation understands the responsibility they have as drivers and tech-users.

Here are a few quick facts about distracted driving to get the ball rolling:
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The ubiquity of technology in 2016 benefits our society in many ways. People have more access to information (like this webpage), they can communicate with friends, family or work associates from the other side of the world, and they can even keep tabs on their favorite celebrities. Still, the prevalence of technology isn’t all roses.

Distraction behind the wheel has grown to a problem of epidemic proportions in the United States, and with new and innovative technology coming out every month, remedying this epidemic may not be an easy task. Using cell phones, navigation systems, and Mp3 players behind the wheel increases your chances of being involved in a crash exponentially, and it is against the law in most of the fifty states. However, safety agencies and researchers are now finding that we may only be at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to distracted driving injuries and fatalities, because thousands of these accidents aren’t being reported properly.
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When one or more vehicles become involved in an accident, the term ‘human factors’ is used as an umbrella term to denote all the things that drivers and passengers on the road have done that may have contributed to the collision. One of the most common human factors in automobile crashes is distraction, and the number of people that are involved in these accidents is far too high.

With new and innovative technology coming out every month, remedying this epidemic may not be an easy task. The use of cell phones, navigation systems, Mp3 players – even grooming or eating – behind the wheel increases your chances of being involved in a crash exponentially, and doing many of these things while driving is against the law in a majority of the fifty states. Our lawyers want to present you with the three most common types of distraction, so you can understand and be more aware of what activities to avoid, so you can navigate Chicago roads and highways as safely as possible.
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During any given daylight moment, statistics show that some 660,000 people across the United States are using a cell phone or electronic device while driving – a number that has remained relatively stable since 2010. As smart phones and digital media become more and more prevalent, distracted driving represents one of the most serious issues faced by safety agencies and federal regulators today. (NOPUS)
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In a car accident, reaction time is often the key to minimizing damage. For instance, if a Chicago CTA bus in front of you pulls out into your lane, the speed at which you are able to apply the breaks can be the difference between walking away from the crash and suffering life-altering injuries. This is why distracted driving car accidents are so dangerous, and more and more people are falling victim to them every year.
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Getting a driver’s license is an important part in a teen’s life and a big step toward adulthood, but that step comes with a lot of responsibility. While teens may feel they are growing up and more independent, they often do not realize the duties that come with this new ability nor appreciate and grasp the risks and need for safety. Furthermore, with less experience on the roads, teens often do not have the same physical driving skills as experienced adult drivers do. This means their judgment and reaction times are often not as good as other drivers, which can mean a higher risk for motor vehicle accidents.

However, even though teens may have less experience and years of driving under their belt, they must be held to the same standard as all other drivers. Because they have been granted a license and the ability to drive, they also have a legal duty of care to be safe and not be a cause of injury to others on the road. Just like other drivers, when they fail in this regard and act negligently or recklessly, they can be held responsible under the law through traffic citations and/or personal injury lawsuits.

In a recent article by the Chicago Sun-Times, a teen driver was recently cited for a fatal car accident that killed a pedestrian in Arlington Heights. As a result of the 16-year-old hitting the woman, she died two days later. He was issued four traffic citations. The 57-year-old woman was walking her dog and crossing Grove Street near Kaspar Avenue in Arlington Heights, when the teen who was traveling westbound, struck her. Police cited the teen for reckless driving, speeding, driving with an obstructed windshield, and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. He will be appearing in traffic court his month.
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Car accidents can come in many forms, but one factor that is common among many is driver negligence. Whether a single-car crash, a rollover, rear-ending, or a head-on crash, negligent driving is often the cause of the accident from one or more drivers involved. It only takes a moment of not being alert to your surroundings or sticking to safe driving for a serious accident to occur. That is why our lawyers cannot emphasize enough how important it is to act with caution at all times when behind the wheel.

A recent article by WQAD 8 describes how a head-on crash in Henderson County took the lives of both drivers near Illinois Route 64. According to the report, one driver was heading westbound when they veered left and crossed the center line for unknown reasons. This caused the two vehicles to collide head on. The second vehicle tried to avoid the crash and veered sharply right off the road. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene from the impact of the collision.

Crossing the center line into oncoming traffic can happen for a multitude of reasons. Although the reason for crossing the center line in this accident is unknown, it is still important to discuss some common causes for these types of accidents. Distracted driving is an extremely prevalent issue, not only in our state of Illinois, but throughout the country. All too often people are distracted by many things in their vehicle, such as conversing with another person (which was not the case in this accident as both drivers were the only people in their vehicles), changing the radio or your mp3 player, talking on the phone, or texting while driving. It only takes a moment of distraction, especially when driving at a high speed on the highway, to cross the center line and cause an accident.
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Getting a driver’s license is such an exciting time in a teenager’s life. They feel like they are taking a big step toward adulthood and growing up. It’s also gives teens a feeling of independence to be able to drive themselves places like school and part-time job instead of needing to rely on others for transportation. This new flexibility often offers a lot of ease on parents and their work schedules too. However, with this new step comes a lot of responsibility on the teen’s part in being a safe driver and following the rules and on the parents to be a model of safe behavior and to instill discipline and encouragement to abide by the rules and not be reckless.

Unfortunately, distracted driving a huge factor in teen car accidents. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distracted driving among teens is a much larger problem than we previously thought. The study analyzed 1700 in-car videos of teen drivers that led to the conclusion that distraction is a much more prevalent factor for crashes than many thought. These videos analyzed in the study, consisting of accidents ranging from August 2007 to July 2013, allowed for a better understanding of what goes on when a teen is driving in the moments leading up the collision. Such common distractions include talking with passengers, texting, and grooming (i.e. hair and makeup). These factors alone were present in 60% of moderate-to-severe teen car accidents. Unfortunately, the majority of the teen accidents occurred in the Midwest.
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It’s been more than a year since a new Illinois state law was enacted to prohibit drivers from talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel without the use of a hands-free device. The policy was meant to act as a supplement to some of Illinois’ more veteran laws, which ban texting and driving, as well as the use of cell phones near school and construction areas. Still, according to law enforcement officials, teenagers, older folks, and all sorts of other people in between are still violating this new state law against texting and talking on the phone. Our car accident lawyers want to get the message out that distracted driving is a concern of every demographic and every region, young or old, city or the countryside.
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