Distracted driving occurs any time a driver diverts his or her attention away from their primary task of driving. This can include adjusting a radio, surfing the web on your cell phone or tablet, using a navigation system, or even talking to passengers in your car; whatever the cause, distractions endanger drivers, passengers and bystanders. Cell phone use behind the wheel is perhaps the most well-known and dangerous distraction of all, and over the years, our society has developed the false notion that this is only a problem for teens and young drivers. However, law enforcement officials are making it clear, distracted driving isn’t a teenage problem, it’s everyone’s problem.
On January 1st 2014, a new state law was enacted to prohibit drivers from talking on a cell phone while driving without the use of a hands-free device. This policy was meant to act as a supplement to some of Illinois’ already present laws, which ban texting and driving, as well as the use of cell phones near school and construction areas. According to Springfield law enforcement officials, teenagers, older folks, and all sorts of people in between are violating this new state law against texting and talking on the phone, but they 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.
Between 2008 and 2012, traffic information from the Illinois Tollway’s website tabs nearly 6,000 Illinois accidents as involving some sort of driver distraction, and many leading safety organizations believe distracted driving will only continue to rise if correctional policies and educational initiatives are not implemented. Since the new law took effect, Springfield police alone have issued 163 citations, a serious spike from the 61 citations issued by the municipality during all of last year under the lesser restrictions. With roughly seven months remaining in the year, you can bet there will be many more to come. (The State Journal-Register)
Because cell phone related activities like texting require visual, manual, and mental focus from a driver, they are incredibly dangerous. Studies from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have shown that engaging in these kinds of visual-manual subtasks can increase your risk of getting into a serious accident by three times. Another study by the same organization found that the average driver diverted their attention away from the road for five seconds while texting, enough to drive the length of a football field completely blind when traveling on the highway. (Distraction.Gov)
As Chicago car accident lawyers, our legal team understands how serious the hazards of distracted driving are, and how devastating these accidents can be for individuals and families. If you have been seriously injured in an Illinois car accident, or if you are the survivor of a loved one who was killed due to someone else’s negligence, call us now for a free consultation. We will work to get you the compensation you deserve, and we will make sure reckless drivers are held accountable for their actions.