Tag Archives: distracted driving accidents

Illinois injury lawyerEvery day, an average of nine people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers throughout the United States. Distracted driving is one of the greatest threats to safety on the road today, and drivers who take their attention off the road to use their cell phone, adjust their radio or environmental controls, or converse with passengers are putting everyone who uses the road at risk.

It can be difficult to resist the temptation to take your eyes off the road to look at your phone or perform another activity, but by following these tips, you can protect yourself and others from the threat of distracted driving accidents:

  • Only use your phone in an emergency - Any cell phone use while driving, including making hands-free calls, can cause you to miss important details that might help you avoid a crash. It is best to turn off your phone altogether, and if you need to make an emergency call, pull over to a safe place first.
  • Make adjustments before leaving - Adjusting your radio station, the position of your seat, or your car’s heater or air conditioner while driving can be enough of a momentary distraction to cause an accident. Making sure everything is configured before setting out on the road can help you avoid taking your eyes off the road while you are driving.
  • Store loose items - Make sure any items in the car are properly secured, so that you will not take your attention off the road to reach for items that roll around while the car is moving.
  • Secure children before driving - Children should be fully buckled up before you begin driving. Do not reach into the back seat to take care of them; if you need to attend to their needs, you should pull over to a safe place first.
  • Avoid eating and drinking - Try to eat any meals or snacks before leaving, or pull over to a safe place to do so, since eating and drinking while driving can be enough of a distraction to cause an accident.
  • Do not try to multi-task - It can be tempting to try to complete some other tasks while you drive, such as grooming, reading a magazine, or writing a note. However, dividing your attention between the task of driving and any other activities, even for a moment, can lead to an accident.

Contact a Hinsdale Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

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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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Hinsdale personal injury attorneyAmerica has quickly become a well-connected nation. Virtually everyone talks to friends in other cities, states, and even other countries. Email, games, videos, and applications can be accessed almost anywhere. They do it at home, while waiting at the doctor’s office, and at coffee shops and diners. Many people are also doing it while behind the wheel. This poor driving habit – the new form of distracted driving – is on the rise, experts say. As a result, fatalities are increasing as well. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, it is important to understand the seriousness of the situation.

Just How Big is the Problem?

For more than four decades, traffic fatalities were on the decline. Then, in 2015, traffic deaths rose by 7.5 percent. It was the biggest spike in more than 50 years. Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that distracted driving was responsible for an alarming percentage of those crashes. Accidents related to distracted driving also increased by a concerning 8.8 percent.

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DuPage County personal injury attorneysWe have all been reminded time and again: “Put the phone down,” “Texting can wait,” and “Don’t text and drive.” It seems, however, that we cannot help ourselves. “This will only take a second,” we rationalize, as we fire off a quick message to a friend or family. A second, though, is all it takes for something tragic to happen, as texting-and-driving accidents can cause serious injuries and, in some cases, death.

While the phrase “texting and driving” has become commonplace, its specificity may offer what seems to be a loophole for some drivers. Though still illegal and extremely dangerous, playing a game or downloading music on a mobile device while behind the wheel is not technically texting and driving. Loopholes and technicalities, in such situations, are little more than excuses, and when a driver is distracted, either by a text message or mobile app, the outcome can be exactly the same.

Pokémon Go Distractions

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DuPage County personal injury attorneysIt has probably happened to you. You are driving behind another vehicle that seems to be operating rather erratically. The car keeps speeding up, slowing down, or drifting to either side of the travel lane. When you finally are able to get safely get around the car, you cannot help but to glance at the driver to see what caused the trouble, expecting to see him or her engaged in sending or reading a text message. Instead, you watch the driver seeming to talk to him- or herself, gesturing and reacting, despite being alone in the car. Then it dawns on you: the driver is in the midst of a phone conversation using a hands-free device.

Drivers are constantly reminded about the dangers of cell phone use while driving and are strongly admonished to avoid texting while driving, which is also illegal in most states, including Illinois. However, thanks to the rise in onboard vehicle technology and Bluetooth devices, many drivers do not realize that hands-free phone conversations are often just as dangerous as holding the phone to their ear.

Distracting Conversation

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