“Distracted driving” occurs when you allow anything to take your attention away from safely operating your car. This behavior poses a major threat on roads in Chicago and across Illinois.
Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving are common distractions. New Illinois laws address these risks. However, these are not the only distractions that cause accidents.
This is why you need to work with an experienced car accident lawyer after you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident. The attorney should know how to thoroughly investigate your crash and determine whether distracted driving played a role.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., offers that extensive background. We can get to work on your case right away. Simply contact us today to get started with a free consultation.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Driving is complex. It requires complete focus. When distractions get in the way, the consequences can be devastating. Accidents, injuries and deaths can (and often do) result.
For instance, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) study found that reaching for a cell phone, dialing and texting while driving raises the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
If you look down at your phone to send or read a text message for an average of 4.6 seconds while traveling at 55 mph – a common speed on Chicago roads – you could go the length of an entire football field without your eyes on the road, another VTTI study found.
A major concern involves teens who text or talk on a phone while driving. In a recent survey of U.S. teens, 40 percent admitted to being in a car when the driver recklessly used a cell phone.
Other types of dangerous distractions include:
- Eating and drinking
- Talking with passengers
- Brushing/combing hair and/or putting on makeup
- Reading books and maps
- Using navigation systems
- Watching videos
- Tuning radios, CD players or MP3 players
Chicago and Illinois: Cracking Down on Distracted Driving
In response to the threat of distracted driving, as of January 1, 2014, Illinois law now bans:
- Text messaging, e-mailing or using the Internet while driving
- Using a hand-held electronic communication device while driving
- Using cell phones, hand-held or hands-free, in school zones and highway work zones
- Driving while using a wireless phone, hand-held or hands-free, if you are age 18 or younger.
What Can You Do If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Despite the law, distracted driving continues. If you or a loved one was harmed by a distracted driver, that driver should fully compensate you for all of your losses. (If the driver was working at the time, then his or her employer could be liable as well.)
An investigation into your crash can reveal evidence of distracted driving. This evidence could include:
- Cell phone records
- Texting records (and the actual text messages)
- Witness statements (including passengers and bystanders)
- Credit card or debit card receipts (showing the driver was eating while driving)
An accident reconstruction expert’s analysis of the crash scene itself can also determine whether a driver was distracted. For instance, a lack of brake marks (along with evidence that a driver was texting at the time of the crash) can establish that the driver was distracted.
Contact Our Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact the distracted driving accident lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., today for a free consultation. We will help you pursue compensation for your injuries.