Car accidents can occur in a blink of an eye but change the lives of victims forever. Distracted driving, unfortunately, leads to car accidents each year. Over 3,300 victims were killed in both 2011 and 2012 in distraction-related car crashes and 421,000 victims were injured in distraction-related car crashes in 2012. Car accidents can leave victims with medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering damages or worse.
Distracted driving takes place when a driver engages in activities that remove the driver’s attention and focus from driving and from the roadway. Types of distracted driving include texting and driving; operating a cell phone while driving; operating a navigation system while driving; adjusting the radio, CD player or MP3 player while driving; talking with passengers while driving; eating while driving; and grooming while driving, among other behaviors that may be considered distracted driving.
While all types of distracted driving are serious, texting while driving distracts the driver’s visual, manual and cognitive attention away from the roadway all at one time so it is considered a particularly serious form of distraction. To put the serious nature of distracted driving into perspective, the average time a driver’s eyes are removed from the roadway while texting is 5 seconds. Traveling at 55 miles per hour, 5 seconds is enough time to traverse the length of a football field. In addition, hands-free cell phone use is not substantially safer than using the handset.
In addition to the dangers, Illinois has enacted primary law ban on the use of handheld cell phones and has also enacted a primary law that makes it illegal for all drivers to text while driving. For any victim injured in a car accident by a distracted driver, legal protections are available to help meet the challenges victims may face following a car accident.
Source: Distraction.gov, “Facts and Statistics,” accessed on March 25, 2015