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IL injury lawyerBy now, everyone has heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Many states, including Illinois, have instituted laws prohibiting the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. April has been identified as national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Unfortunately, knowledge does not always equate to action. Many drivers still engage in activities other than driving behind the wheel. Distracted driving leads to thousands of car crashes a year. If you or a loved one have been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Study Suggests Distracted Driving Collisions Are Much More Frequent Than Previously Estimated

According to a recent study analyzing over 85,000 auto collisions, 57 percent of crashes involved cell phone use. About 17 percent of the crashes studied involved cell phone use less than five seconds before the impact. Of the 25 most populous cities in the U.S., Chicago ranks second in terms of phone use while driving. Distracted driving collisions involving other vehicles as well as crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians led to nearly half a million injuries and thousands of deaths in 2018 alone. Many experts believe that the problem is only getting worse.

Holding Distracted Drivers Responsible for Their Actions

If you were involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to hold the driver responsible through civil legal action. You may also be entitled to financial recovery. You could receive monetary compensation for your:

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texting while drivingTexting while driving is not only dangerous, it is also illegal in 44 states, including Illinois. When it comes to using a mobile device while driving, Illinois law has banned:

  • all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers;
  • all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers under the age of 19;
  • text for all drivers;
  • cell phone use while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone; and
  • handheld devices for all drivers.
The National Safety Council reports an estimated 24 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are linked to drivers texting or talking on cell phones, which equals to about 1.2 million crashes per year. IllinoisTollway.com provides a few disturbing statistics linked to distracted driving in the state, which include:
  • the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident increases by 23 times for the duration of time a driver is sending a text;
  • every 24 seconds an accident occurs that is linked to distracted driving caused by cell phone use;
  • distracted driving is responsible for 80 percent of all crashes; and
  • in under five seconds, if driving at 65 mph, this converts to driving the distance of a football field blindfolded.

In a report by Fox 32 News earlier this year, Illinois State Police revealed that the number of distracted driving citations had more than tripled, reaching 2,380 compared to 767 the year previous, including tickets for texting while driving.

The state has adopted the “Drive Now. Text Later.” awareness campaign to warn drivers of the dangers and repercussions of texting while driving. The campaign is designed to educate people on the road and in the community about driving without distraction. Posters, bumper stickers, and roadway message boards all have spread the word about “texting later.”

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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.

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