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Police Crackdown on Distracted Driving

Posted on in Car Accidents

Chicago auto accident lawyer, distracted driving, handheld cell phones, hands-free device law, texting while driving, distracted driving cases, distracted driving laws, Illinois distracted driving, hands-free deviceOn January 1 of this year, a new law went into effect in Illinois and banned the use of handheld cell phones while behind the wheel. This ban is not the first such law to be passed in the U.S. to help prevent distracted driving. Several other states and major cities have passed similar ordinances. New York State was the first to do so in 2001, and reports initially showed that drivers followed the new law.

According to a 2004 study reported by NBC News, three years into the ban, New York drivers were talking on their handheld cell phones just as often as they were before the ban. However, it seemed to improve as more states became aware of the issue. A lack of publicity was initially blamed in New York for the continuing problem, but it was solved by a major media push to publicize the new law. Other states, including Illinois, may do well to also take this into consideration.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois drivers can still talk on the phone while driving, provided that they do so using a hands-free device such as Bluetooth, an earpiece, a headset, or the car’s speakerphone. Some researchers balk at these regulations, stating that any type of cell phone use is distracting when a person is driving—whether the driver is actually holding the phone or not.

Critics of the law, according to the Chicago Tribune, point to the fact that accident rates involving cell phones have not decreased in states that have enacted hands-free laws such as the one in Illinois. While John Kennedy, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director, agrees that a hands-free device law may not solve all distracted driving cases involving cell phone use, he told the Tribune that he considers it a good start.

In April, Evanston police took to the streets to crackdown on distracted driving. Police Commander Jay Parrott told Chicago CBS Local that officers issued 120 tickets in one day. These tickets were issued to any individual talking on the phone, texting, or using any function of the cell phone while behind the wheel. Parrott warns other Chicago-land residents of similar crackdowns in regards to the 2014 law.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Chicago-land accident as a result of someone else's distracted driving, you are likely eligible for compensation. Contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. today. Our offices are conveniently located in Waukegan, Wheaton, Chicago, and Richmond.
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