Distracted drivers put everyone on the road in great dangerDriving is a complex task involving knowledge, physical coordination, focus, patience and vigilance. If a driver fails to give driving his complete attention, then the results can be dangerous and possibility fatal—not only for the driver, but also for passengers and everyone else on the road. Accordingly, it is important to understand the risk of distracted driving, Illinois laws about distracted driving, and what to do if you are hurt by a distracted driver.

The Risk of Distracted Driving

There are three types of distracted driving. A driver may be:

  • Visually distracted. A driver is visually distracted when his eyes leave the road.
  • Physically distracted. A driver is physically distracted when his hands leave the steering wheel.
  • Cognitively distracted. A driver is cognitively distracted when he is thinking about something other than driving safely.

Some common types of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking while driving.
  • Using a navigation system such as a map or GPS while driving.
  • Talking or arguing with a passenger while driving.
  • Attending to children while driving.
  • Using a cell phone—in any manner—while driving.
  • Changing the radio station or music while driving.
  • Grooming oneself while driving.
  • Reading while driving.
  • Daydreaming while driving.
  • Reaching for something in the passenger seat or back seat while driving.
  • Doing anything else that takes your eyes off the road, hands of wheel, or attention away from driving.

In 2013, 3,154 people were killed and approximately 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents with distracted drivers. It is a national problem with very local and personal consequences.

Illinois Distracted Driving Laws

Illinois, like many other states, has passed laws that are aimed at preventing serious, dangerous, and deadly distracted driving accidents. These laws are important; there are significant penalties for violating them and any violation may be considered in a civil case when determining which driver was at fault for an accident.

According to the official U.S. government website on distracted driving, it is against the law in Illinois for:

  • A bus driver to use a cellphone (handheld or hands-free).
  • A novice driver, under the age of 19, to use a cellphone (handheld or hands-free).
  • Any driver to text and drive.
  • Any driver to use a cellphone in a school zone or highway construction zone.
  • Any driver to use a handheld cellphone.

While these laws are important, they do not prevent all accidents caused by cell phone use while driving and they do not address other forms of distracted driving. Accordingly, distracted driving accidents still happen in Illinois and innocent people are left hurt or killed because of another driver’s distraction.

What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Distracted Driver

There are many different causes of car crashes, and it is important to know if a distracted driver caused your injury or your loved one’s fatality. If you believe that the other driver was distracted, then you should share your opinion with your personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will complete a full investigation, determine the cause of your accident and fight for your fair and just recovery. Accordingly, it is important to schedule your free consultation with an experienced lawyer today. Simply call us directly at 1-800-800-5678 to set up a meeting. And please help spread the word about avoiding distracted driving accidents by requesting your free “DNT TXT N DRV” bumper sticker today.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.