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New laws restricting the use of cell phones while driving went into effect in Illinois on January 1 of this year, according to HandsFreeInfo.com. One new law “bars commercial drivers from texting or using handheld cell phones while driving,” which really just brings Chicago up to snuff with federal laws already in effect that currently restrict commercial drivers from texting or using handheld phones while driving. The other “adjusts current restrictions on cell phone use in school and roadway work zones,” by expanding the definition of highway work zones while “allowing for voice-activated and one-button use of cell phones in school and roadway work zones.”
Chicago was one of the first big cities to propose distracted driving regulations, which are now in effect in several cities across the country. Other distracted behaviors include reading, writing, grooming, and interacting with pets. There’s a flat $75 fine for any distracted driving ticket. According to ABC News and data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cellular use by drivers “contributed to 57 fatal crashes in 1997, the latest data available.” There’s no doubt that with the proliferation of cell phones this number has risen proportionately.
If you’ve been a victim of a distracted driving crash, it’s obvious that you’re likely eligible for compensation. Yet in a landmark 2012 lawsuit in New Jersey, in which both partners in a couple lost a leg because of 18-year-old texting driver, the person sending the text message is also being blamed for the crash. Time will tell if the sender of text messages to someone who they know is driving, but some industry officials believe it could lead to a “new responsibility on the part of both the sender and the receiver of the text message not to continue this kind of negligent activity,” according to CBS News.
CBS News cites government statistics that report 24 percent of vehicle crashes can be attributed to phones use while driving. If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving case, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois personal injury attorney today.
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