Each year, thousands of people are killed, and hundreds of thousands of people are injured by distracted drivers in the United States.
Distracted driving is anything that takes a person’s eyes of the road, hands off the steering wheel, or concentration away from driving safely.
Texting while driving presents all three risks. Drivers who are texting and driving are looking at their phones, watches, or other devices rather than the road, using their hands to read or write a message, and thinking about texting rather than traffic.
Even if it takes just five seconds for a driver to text, that driver may have driven the length of a football field if the driver was traveling 55 mph. A lot can happen in that distance, and the texting driver may be unable to avoid a dangerous crash.
Wisconsin Texting and Driving Laws
All drivers are prohibited from texting and driving, according to Wisconsin law. More specifically, drivers cannot use their hands to text while driving. Talk-to-text or hands-free texting is permitted. If you are caught texting and driving in violation of the law and you are not involved in a crash, you could face:
- A ticket for inattentive driving which comes with a fine and four demerit points on your license
- Eight demerit points if you have an instructional permit or probationary license and had a prior moving violation
- Six months of extended Graduated Driver License (GDL) restrictions if you have a probationary license, you are under GDL restrictions at the time of your ticket, and you had a prior moving violation
- A six-month delay in getting your probationary license if you get the ticket while you have an instruction permit
Additionally, the driver who was texting and driving may have caused the crash and may be responsible for paying accident-related damages.
Illinois Texting and Driving Laws
Illinois banned texting and driving in 2010 and it is still against the law to use a handheld electronic device, such as a cell phone, while driving. Hands-free devices are permitted for drivers who are 19 or older.
A texting and driving ticket is a moving violation. If you are ticketed for texting and driving and no accident occurs, you could face a:
- $75 fine for a first violation, a $100 fine for a second violation, or a $125 fine for a third violation
- License suspension if you have three moving violations within 365 days
If your texting and driving caused a crash, then you could face criminal charges. More specifically, you may be charged with a:
- Class A misdemeanor if the accident causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to someone other than yourself. You will face a $1,000 fine and a 12-month license suspension in addition to any fines or jail time included in your misdemeanor sentence.
- Class 4 felony if you cause someone else’s death which could result in significant jail time and fines.
You may also need to pay damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Iowa Texting and Driving Laws
In 2017, Iowa made its distracted driving law a primary law. Now, police officers may pull over and ticket drivers for texting and driving even if no other traffic law was violated. In Iowa, reading, writing, or sending a text message could result in a criminal conviction. You could face:
- A $100 fine if you are found guilty of a simple misdemeanor
- 10 years in prison and a $10,000 if you are convicted of a felony for causing someone else’s death
As in Wisconsin and Iowa, you may also be responsible for any personal injury or wrongful death damages.
What to Do After a Texting and Driving Crash
Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa may ticket a texting driver and that driver may face fines and other consequences, but none of the consequences include automatic compensation for accident victims. If you’re hurt or a loved one is killed in a texting and driving crash, you need to take steps to protect your recovery.
You may not know what caused the crash immediately after it happens. However, the steps that you should take are the same. We encourage you to:
- Call the police
- Gather information at the accident scene
- Accept medical assistance
- Not to talk about the crash online or with the insurance adjuster
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible
Together, these steps may help you get the fair recovery that you deserve.
How to Protect Your Fair Recovery After a Texting and Driving Accident
You couldn’t prevent someone else from making the dangerous decision to text and drive, and you couldn’t stop the accident from happening. However, you can control what happens next. By taking the steps described above, you may be able to recover compensation for your past, current, and future:
- Healthcare costs
- Lost income
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Other accident-related damages
Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you in two ways.
First, we want to help our communities prevent texting and driving crashes and avoid the stress, pain, and loss that accompany these crashes. Accordingly, we encourage anyone in Wisconsin, Iowa, or Illinois to order a free DNT TXT N DRV bumper sticker and to take our pledge to show your commitment not to text and drive.
Second, if you were hurt or a loved one was killed by a distracted driver, we are here to help you to make a fair legal recovery. Insurance companies know that we mean business and are often willing to settle our client’s claims. They know that we will go to court to protect our clients’ rights if they do not offer a fair settlement. So far, we’ve helped more than 70,000 clients recover more than $1 billion.
Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today if you’ve been hurt in a Wisconsin, Illinois, or Iowa crash. We would be happy to discuss your rights, possible recovery, and our Win, or It’s Free Guarantee with you in your home or hospital room, one of our 11 personal injury law offices, or by phone or video conference.