Have you ever been at a red light and seen the person in the car next to you texting, oblivious to their surroundings and when the light turns green, only to then slam on the gas and try to simultaneously continue their text message and drive? You probably recognize how dangerous these distracted drivers are, and the risks their negligence poses to you and other drivers on the road you share. What makes matters worse, is that we as a community are constantly being told how dangerous these activities are, but we have not seen a decrease in distracted driving related accidents. Most of these people are aware that simultaneous cell phone use and driving creates a serious risk to themselves and those around them, but as our Chicago lawyers know, many proceed to act in this negligent manner anyway.
There are alarming statistics regarding the serious correlation between distracted driving and motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that could divert a person’s attention from the main task of driving. Some examples of distractions include texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, doing hair and makeup, or adjusting music. However, it is noteworthy that text messaging is the worst and most dangerous distraction because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. For a visual example, sending or receiving a text takes the driver’s eyes away from the road for approximately 4.6 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph. Nationally, the number of people killed in distracted driving crashes was 3,328 in 2012, and an estimated 421,000 people were injured in crashes due to a distracted driver. According to the Illinois State Police, distracted driving is also extremely costly and has an economic impact of $40 billion per year. Using your cell phone while driving increases the chance of an accident by 400%.
Due to a large number in distraction related accidents, a new distracted driver law will go into effect in Illinois on January 1st of the New Year. Under this new law, drivers will not be allowed to use a handheld cellphone for calls or texting while their vehicle is in use. Fines will substantially increase for those caught using their cellphones while driving.
Hopefully, the new law and hefty penalties will increase the awareness that cell phone use while driving is not worth the risk to lives nor the punishment. If you have suffered a personal injury as the result of a negligent driver who was using their cellphone at the time of the crash, it is important to seek legal assistance to both compensate you for your loss and to prevent future loss to others like you. Our Chicago accident attorneys are experienced in motor vehicle accident lawsuits and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our firm has been selected by both Leading Lawyers and Illinois Super Lawyers as being among the best in personal injury and wrongful death. The firm’s attorneys and staff bring a combined 130 years of experience to every case. You can trust that you will be in the right hands when you take your hardship from a distracted driving case to our firm.