Phone Use While Driving – Dangerous and Expensive

Published on July 24th, 2020

A world-wide pandemic, protesting across the country and riots right in our backyard. Our brains are full right now, but when you get in the car, you need to be clear headed on the road. Distracted driving is a leading cause of automobile accidents across the globe. In this article, learn about Illinois driving laws and recent changes, what distracted driving means, and what to do if you or someone you know has been in an accident due to distracted driving.

Cell Phone Use While Driving is Illegal

Cell phones are the largest cause of distracted driving, which is why using a phone or texting while driving is illegal. Many states, including Illinois, have laws in place to forbid drivers from even having a phone in hand while driving. Effective July 1, 2020, Illinois increased the penalties for distracted driving. With the passage of House Bill 4846, using a phone or texting while driving will be considered a moving violation and will appear on the motorists driving record. Drivers who receive three moving violations in a year will have their driver’s license suspended. Moving and non-moving violations also carry a fine of $75 which will increase gradually with each additional offense.

Driving while using your phone is negligent. When negligence is the cause for an accident, the driver is liable for the victim’s damages, to both themselves and their vehicle.

Distracted Driving is Dangerous

Using a phone or texting while driving is extremely dangerous, which is why it is prohibited in so many places. Driving while using a cell phone increases chances of getting into an automobile accident by nearly 4x, and driving while texting increases chances by up to 23x. It is estimated that at any given moment, 10% of drivers of all ages are using their phones – which means you have to be much more alert. Each year, there are more than 150,000 crashes, more than 600,000 injuries, and nearly 6,000 deaths due to using a phone while driving.

While driving and operating a phone is illegal, there are no laws against being distracted. Some common distractions include eating/ drinking, talking to passengers, using the navigation system, or adjusting the radio. We often think that performing these quick actions won’t distract us very much, but they shift our focus away from the wheel and can cause accidents, too. It’s important to understand that this does not mean that being distracted by something other than a digital device won’t lead to a citation. There are laws that may apply if operators are found to be driving unsafe or reckless and an accident or injury occurs as a result of this activity.

Much like using a phone while driving, our brains are not designed to do more that one thing at a time. That’s why when driving, it is important to focus strictly on the road to avoid a car accident. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that by taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds at 55 mph, drivers will travel the length of a football field. That’s a long stretch of road and anything can happen during that amount of time..

Liability For Distracted Driving Accidents

If an automobile accident occurs, it’s important to clearly understand what happened before the accident. Like any automobile accident, it’s recommended that you take pictures of the accident and any damage done to vehicles and the surrounding area. Also remember, it’s important to tell the truth about whether or not cell phone use or another distraction may have caused the accident. Many times, police will obtain the phone history of the drivers and will easily be able to tell whether or not the cell phone was being used at the time of the accident.

Typically, if the accident is minor and has no fatalities, the responsible party will likely be sued for personal injury and a claim may be made against their insurance. However in more severe accidents, the responsible party may even face time behind bars. Determining liability in a car accident is tricky sometimes, and likely requires a personal injury lawyer to help determine proper liability.

Get Legal Help For Car Accident

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options. Peter Wachowski has over 25 years practicing law in the field of personal injury and can help you evaluate your claim and to determine the right course of action.

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