It only took jurors about 10 minutes to return the misdemeanor guilty verdict for reckless driving because the defendant was texting. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Levin & Perconti think that is a very fast verdict – usually jurors take a bit longer to review the law and deliberate.
According to recent car accident statistics, talking on a cell phone causes nearly 25% of car accidents and one-fifth of experienced adult drivers in the United States send text messages while driving. Text messaging is a huge distraction; and in 2008, almost 6000 people were killed and a half million received personal injuries in car accidents related to distracted drivers. Recent studies concluded that texting while driving is 6 times more likely to result in a car accident than driving while intoxicated. A 2007 survey revealed that 19% of motorists say that they text message while driving. A 2002 calculation by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis calculated that 2600 people die each year as a result of using cellphones while driving and another 330,000 receive personal injuries. Different studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with the eyes off of the road.
Illinois law regulates text messaging while driving, banning it entirely, in order to lessen distracted drivers more prone to Illinois car accidents. The Illinois law states that a person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message. As for the defendant who was found guilty in 10 minutes, there will likely be similar prosecutions for text messaging while driving in the future. But, obviously, the prosecution is awfully compelling when the offender is a bus driver, entrusted with the safety of the occupants of the vehicle.
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