Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer – Car Accident Attorneys
What is Distracted Driving?
Over the past few years, as smartphones have become more and more popular, distracted driving has increasingly been reported as the cause of motor vehicle accidents. Distracted driving is when a driver of a motor vehicle engages in any activity that distracts him or her from the task of driving and focusing on the road.
Distracted driving can include using a cellphone while driving, such as texting while driving, or talking while driving either by holding the cellphone in hand or by using a hands-free device. Distracted driving can also include using or manipulating a GPS device, eating food or drinking a beverage while driving, or even reaching down to grab something that has accidentally fallen onto the floor of the vehicle.
Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road and distracts him or her from the task at hand is considered to be distracted driving. Distracted driving is unsafe driving and in some instances is illegal. For example, texting while driving has been illegal in Illinois since 2010, and yet many drivers still engage in this distracted driving behavior.
Facts About Distracted Driving
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s 100-Car Naturalistic Study found that up to 80% of all crashes involve some type of driver distraction. The Illinois Tollway estimates that up to 24% of all traffic crashes in the United States each year are related to cell phone usage while driving, which correlates to 1.2 million accidents. In Illinois alone, in 2011, over 1,100 accidents involved cellphone usage while driving. The National Safety Council estimates that there is one cellphone-related distracted driver accident every 24 seconds.
Young people are the biggest offenders; specifically those age 20 and under. Using a handheld device increases the likelihood of having an accident fourfold, while texting and driving increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident 23 times during the period of time it takes to send a message.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is relatively easy to prevent by taking a few simple precautions before setting out on a trip. Drivers should turn off or store cell phones in a place where they will not be distracting, and should try to not engage in phone conversations while driving. Drivers should never attempt to text and drive, even if they are using a speak-to-text application, which converts speech into text messages. The applications often don’t work well, and make mistakes, which will only further distract a driver.
Drivers should refrain from eating and drinking while driving, and should input GPS destinations before starting their trip. If the GPS destination needs to be corrected mid-trip, drivers should pull over to a safe stopping place to make any necessary adjustments to the GPS input.