Drivers Asked to Put Down Cell Phones in Honor of Father’s Day and Chicago Distracted Driving Accident Victims

A new video, “Faces of Distracted Driving,” was recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation in an attempt to reduce the number of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere throughout the country that are caused by drivers that aren’t paying attention behind the wheel.
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The new PSA features Charlene Sligting-Doud, who is a National Safety Council victim advocate. She became a safety advocate for the group back in 2007 after his father, John Sligting, was killed in a motorcycle accident. The cause of the accident? A distracted driver. His father’s motorcycle was cut off by a teen driver who, when using a cell phone behind the wheel, ran his vehicle straight through a stop sign. The safety advocate is using this video to urge drivers to make a vow to be cell phone free behind the wheel in celebration of the upcoming Father’s Day and in honor of all of the victims of distracted driving accidents.

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers understand that distracted driving is a common, and deadly, habit that creates serious risks for everyone on the road. Distraction.gov reports, nearly 5,500 people were killed in motor-vehicle accidents involving distracted driving in the United Stated in 2009. Another 448,000 people were injured on our roadways because of inattentive driving.

“My father was a hero to many,” said Sligting-Doud. “He served in the military, he was a firefighter and he was an amazing father. Losing him devastated my family. People need to put their cell phones down and focus on the task of driving. Don’t spend Father’s Day sharing memories – spend Father’s Day making memories.”

According to the National Safety Council, those who text while driving are at particularly high risk. More than 100,000 accidents happen each year because of the cell phone texts. An additional 1.2 million crashes involved a cell phone as the form of distraction for an accident.

“John Sligting was a beloved father and grandfather whose life was cut short because of distracted driving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I applaud Charlene for all of the work she is doing to raise awareness about this deadly epidemic, and I hope that everyone who hears about the loss of her father will remember to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving this Father’s Day weekend.”

Charlene Sligting-Doud also manages the HEARTS Network at the National Safety Council. Honoring Everyone Affected, Rallying the Survivors, or HEARTS, discusses real-life stories from victims who have all had their lives changed by traffic accidents that involved a teen driver.

Facts illustrating the dangers of distracted driving:

-Out of all the deaths resulting from distracted driving accidents, nearly 1,000 of these incidents reported a cell phone as the driver distraction. This counted for nearly 20 percent of all of the distraction-related accidents.

-Drivers that are using a hand-held device while driving a motor-vehicle are four times more likely to get into an accident serious enough to injure themselves.

-Roughly 20 percent of all the injury accidents that were reported in 2009 involved a distracted driver.

-The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drivers under the age of 20 have the greatest proportion of distracted drivers that were involved in fatal accidents.

-Using a cell phone behind the wheel gives a driver the same reaction time as someone who is driving while legally drunk.

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

More Blog Entries:

Traffic Fatalities Hit Another Low in Chicago and Elsewhere – Now What?, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 5, 2011

Distracted DUI driver causes fatal Chicago crash on Memorial Day
, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 2, 2011

Chicago Teen Car Accidents in Focus During Safety Week June 12-18, Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2011