Technology is pervasive in our daily lives. From the alarm clock that rings in the morning to the GPS device that gets you to your destination, to a cell phone that keeps you connected to the world and the tablet that lets you work on the go, it is hard to avoid technology. While these devices have led to a great convenience for the masses, they also present many drawbacks, and among them are safety concerns. Increasingly, motorists are using their cell phones behind the wheel and it had led to an increase in distracted driving car accidents in Chicago and across the nation.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time for drivers of all ages to reflect on their personal conduct while operating a motor vehicle and to encourage others to do the same.
Sponsored in part by the National Safety Council, Distracted Driving Awareness Month places an emphasis on all distracting behaviors among drivers, though a primary focus is the use of a cell phone. Many motorists fail to realize that a conversation itself is the distracting portion of cell phone use and therefore a phone should not be used except in the case of an emergency, even if the cell phone is hands-free. Cell phones should never be used for texting, emailing, or surfing the internet while driving as all these functions require a driver’s attention to be diverted from traffic in front of her and onto the cell phone, leading to an increased risk for a collision.
Distracted driving is a preventable incident and one that does not have to claim any American lives, yet every year, thousands suffer due to these incidents. It is difficult to obtain conclusive statistics about how wide spread distracted driving is as motorists often must self-disclose their conduct prior to causing a crash, and many drivers attempt to downplay their role in collisions when questioned. Based on available statistics, approximately 431,000 people were hurt and 3,179 people were killed in distraction-related car accidents in 2014 alone.
Many people are unaware of their legal options after being the victim of a crash with a distracted driver. In the state of Illinois, it is the right of victims and/or their surviving family members to seek relief against those people and companies responsible for a crash, including a driver who was too busy using a cell phone to focus on the road. Payment for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, and any other damages that result from the crash can be possible depending on the specifics of an individual crash, and working with a personal injury attorney can help victims obtain the relief they deserve.
During National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, take a moment to reflect on your conduct as a motorist in our great state. If you have children who drive or a spouse who may hit the road, open a discussion about the dangers associated with distraction and make sure that those you love are doing their part to remain as safe as possible.
Prior Blog Entry:
Faster Speed Limits Blamed for 33,000 Deaths over Two Decades, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 22, 2016.
U.S. DOT and safety partners work to end distracted driving, NHTSA, published April 5, 2016.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, National Safety Council.