The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts in countless hours trying to keep us safe. Statistics show that each year the total number of traffic fatalities is likely to wane, but there is one particular area that is becoming a big problem for American motorists; distracted driving accidents.
Never have there been so many external factors to interact with while driving, and with the increasing prevalence of hand held technology this trend is only making matters worse. Smartphones, navigation systems, DVD and CD players, Mp3 devices, and even fast food can have deleterious effects on driver safety. Earlier this week, a two-vehicle distracted driver accident in a Chicago suburb left one man dead and another driver seriously injured. (Distracted.gov)
According to local authorities, the crash occurred when a westbound Honda Civic spun out of control into oncoming traffic and was struck by an eastbound Mercury Villager. The Cook County medical examiner’s officer reported that the driver of the Civic was pronounced dead at the scene. The Villager’s driver, a 31-year-old woman, was rushed to St. Alexius Medical Center with serious injuries, however police said she was expected to survive. (Chicago Tribune)
In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and unlike most other statistics, that is an increase from the 3,267 that lost their lives in 2010. In addition nearly 400,000 people were injured as a result of these accidents. The worst part about these accidents is that they are 100% preventable, and every one of us can do our part to stop them by doing simple things like not texting while driving, or only using our navigation systems while the car is stopped.
Most states have implemented at least some measures to try to curb the amount of distracted driving on our roadways. Illinois has done their part by enforcing bans on all cell phone use for bus drivers and novice operators, bans on texting while driving for all drivers, and bans on the use of cell phones while driving in school and construction zones.
At Levin & Perconti, our lawyers see the tragic repercussions of these accidents every day. If you are a parent, we urge you to sit down and talk with your children about the importance of being focused on the road while driving, and to set a good example by practicing what you preach when you are driving them to and from various destinations.
Always remember that when you neglect your responsibility to be safe on the road, you aren’t just putting yourself in danger, you are endangering everyone else as well. No text message, no fast food meal, no song on the radio is worth spending months in a hospital bed, or worse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a distracted or negligent driver, we may be able to help you.