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The technological advances made in the past 20 years have been unprecedented. We now live in an age where we can communicate with each other instantly—from anywhere in the world! Our phones have everything from the internet to GPS navigation to video chat capabilities. However, there have been some downsides to this rapid technological growth. For example, many of us have become so reliant on our mobile devices phones that we cannot seem to ignore the familiar “ding” of an incoming text message, even when we are behind the wheel of a car.
On average, nine people die every day due to an accident involving distracted driving and over 1,000 are injured. Of the 2.5 million people in the U.S. who are hurt in vehicular accidents each year, nearly 400,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Some people call distracted driving an epidemic, and the problem is so bad that an estimated 25% of accidents are now caused by distracted driving.
What the Law Says
Washington State recently made news when its legislature passed a law that completely bans all hand-held use of mobile phones while driving. Such laws, however, have been in place in Illinois for several years.
Under Illinois law, no driver may use a hand-held device to make or receive phone calls, check email, send or receive text messages, browse the internet, or for any other purpose with the exception of reporting an emergency situation. Drivers over the age of 18 may use hands-free devices, including headsets, to make and receive calls, provided that they can initiate or terminate the call “by pressing a single button.” The law also permits the use of electronic GPS devices for both private and commercial drivers.
Negligence Per Se
While you can be stopped by law enforcement and issued a citation for using your cell phone, you can also create the assumption that you were driving negligently. Under the legal doctrine of negligence per se, a person who violates the law and causes an accident is presumed to be negligent and therefore responsible for any injuries that may result. This presumption is rebuttable and is not necessarily the only factor in an auto accident, but if you are the one who was injured, your cell phone use could cause issues in collecting compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident and you suspect the other driver was distracted by his or her cell phone, contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney right away. At Martoccio & Martoccio, we are committed to helping accident victims injured by the negligence of others, and we will work hard to get you the compensation you need to put your life back on track. Call 630-920-8855 for a free consultation today.