Abels & Annes

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Kicks off — Officials Hope to Decrease Risks of Chicago Car Accidents

April marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The event, put on by the National Safety Council (NCS) and FocusDriven, is urging drivers to stop using cell phones behind the wheel. In doing so, officials hope to reduce the risks of distracted driving car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S.

Our Chicago person injury lawyers urge you to keep the lives of all motorists in mind and keep your full attention on the road. The NSC estimates that nearly 30 percent — or 1.6 million accidents — occur each year as a result of cell phone use at the wheel. This proves much more dangerous than any other type of distracted driving habit.
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“If drivers can go one month without using their phones while driving, they will find out – as many of us have – work still gets done. Many drivers realize most of the calls they thought were so important, really aren’t. It is our hope drivers will decide to make the change permanently. Doing so will make our roadways safer for everyone,” said Jennifer Smith, FocusDriven president and founding board member.

The organization also believes this is an open opportunity for employers to implement cell phone policies to protect employees. The NSC offers you a free Cell Phone Policy Kit to help your business get on the road to safer driving habits.

Local Police Chief William Joyce will be making presentations on distracted driving at various local spots, including the Neighborhood Watch meeting. He finds it important to spread the word now because it’s that time of year when our young drivers are gearing up for prom and graduation and the weather starts to clear up, influencing more highway travel.

“Five seconds to text, five seconds to do a radio scan, five seconds to discipline your kids,” Joyce said. “It only takes a second to travel the length of a football field when you are driving 40-45 mph. And you are driving a 2,000 to 3,000 pound weapon (while doing so).”

Distracted.gov offers these statistics on distracted driving — a growing epidemic:

-In 2009, roughly 20 percent of injury accidents were reportedly caused by distracted driving.

-18 percent of distracted-driving-related accidents resulting in death reported the use of a cell phone at the time of the incident.

-Nearly 5,500 were killed and an additional 448,000 were injured in accidents reportedly involving distracted driving in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

-Drivers are four times more likely to be involved in accident involving serious injury if they’re using a hand-held device at the wheel.

-Using a cell phone behind the wheel gives a driver the same reaction time as a legally drunk driver.

-Young drivers under the age of 20 have the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Roughly 16 percent of these drivers involved in fatal accidents were reportedly driving while distracted.

f you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.