Tag Archives: distracted driving

Illinois injury laawyerOne of the leading causes of vehicle accidents in DuPage County is distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any activity that takes their attention away from the task of safe driving. Although distracted driving is more common in younger drivers, it is seen in drivers of all ages. The top causes of distracted driving in Illinois include:

Cell Phones

In Illinois, there are laws prohibiting the use of all hand-held devices while driving as well as texting while driving. Unfortunately, some drivers disregard these laws and use their cell phones while driving. When they do so, they take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and put themselves at a high risk of causing an accident because they are talking, texting, or using the internet on their cell phone.

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Illinois accident attorneyAccidents caused by distracted driving have been on the rise in recent years, due to people using cell phones or texting while they drive. Thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year in distracted driving accidents, and even though many states (including Illinois) have made using a cell phone while driving illegal, the rate of distracted driving accidents has not abated. As part of the continuing fight against distracted driving, law enforcement officers are considering some new ways to enforce the laws and improve roadway safety.

Technology that Detects Distracted Driving

Chicago aldermen recently moved to have police consider using “textalyzer” technology that will help detect whether drivers involved in injury-related accidents were using their cell phone before the accident occurred. Police officers would be able to use this type device to access the logs on a driver’s phone, which could show whether the phone was being used to send a text, make a call, write an email, or access an app immediately prior to a crash.

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DuPage County car accident attorneysThe 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

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Hinsdale personal injury attorneyThese days, cell phones and mobile devices are on everyone’s radar as a dangerous distraction for drivers. Safety experts, however, are taking steps to increase awareness that loud music can also be a serious distraction that can lead to car accidents.

Loud Music Slows Reaction Times

A Canadian study found that a driver’s reactions time was reduced by an average of 20 percent when loud music was playing. This diminished reaction time could be fatal, even for those traveling at a moderate speed.

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DuPage County personal injury lawyersAccording to data from Distraction.gov, the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, there were more than 3,000 deaths and some 431,000 injuries caused by distracted driving in 2014. That was the same year that Illinois enacted its hands-free cell phone law which required drivers to use their phones hands-free—i.e. Bluetooth, speakerphone, etc.—or face a fine. Sadly, Illinois police say the ban has done little to improve safety on the road and that most drivers continue to ignore the ban. What does this mean for other motorists, particularly when it comes to the risk of experiencing an auto accident injury or wrongful death?

Understanding the Distracted Brain

Despite popular belief, humans are not efficient at multi-tasking. Instead, when the brain is required to manage more than one task at a time, it switches from one train of thought to the other rather. So, for example, if you are driving and texting, your brain places more focus on the act of texting while you are inputting your message and then returns its focus to the road. There is one caveat, however. The brain does not always shift quickly from one task to the next. Fatigue can further slow the transition. Considering that most Americans do not get anywhere near enough sleep, it is perhaps fortunate that there are not more distracted driving accidents than the current numbers show.

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