There is a fallacy among drivers that is widely held in Chicago: drivers tend to believe they are better and more skilled than other motorists on the road. Regardless of how long they have been operating a car, where they learned and how they learned to drive, whether they have been cited for illegal conduct or caused a collision in the past, or even whether they have had subsequent training since an initial driver’s education program, the majority of motorists describe their skills as “better than average” when surveyed.
In fact, many Illinois drivers have the educational basis to be very effective and safe on the roadways but in practice, these drivers often ignore what they consider to be good advice for others. A typical example involves texting while driving or other distracted behaviors while behind the wheel. A survey from last year found that 98 percent of adult drivers stated that texting while driving was unsafe yet shockingly, 49 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to texting while driving.
This “do as I say, not as I do” approach is not only ignorant but it can be lethal. Experts have concluded that using a cell phone increases the risks of a car accident by 400 percent and that many of these collisions result in injuries or death to those involved.
You may be thinking that you do not text and drive and therefore this is not a topic that concerns you. However, if another driver near you is distracted by her phone, odds are that your safety will be threatened as well if that driver drifts into your lane, merges improperly, misses a red light or a stop sign, or fails to notice traffic stopping around her. Texting and driving accidents are a common reality in Chicago and unfortunately they affect not only those who are responsible for the collisions but also those in other cars who did nothing wrong.
Or you might be thinking that you rarely read or send a text and when you do, it is so brief that it cannot really pose a problem. That line of thinking is also contrary to the evidence as drivers can only safely look away from the road for a second or two when otherwise driving pursuant to the law but it takes a typical driver five seconds to read or send a text. As a result, many drivers who are texting never finish their intended message before they are involved in a crash, leaving them with a reminder of the harm they caused because they were too busy or too distracted to pay attention to the road.
Texting while driving is illegal in Illinois with very limited exceptions and drivers who are guilty of texting may face traffic or criminal charges for their actions. In addition, drivers who cause harm to others by causing a car accident or other traffic incident may be held civilly liable for the damages that result including any personal injuries sustained by a victim, any medical expenses that may be incurred, and the pain and suffering experienced.
Victims do not always want to ask for help after a Chicago collision but it is important to do so if you have been injured and you are unsure of your rights. Contacting a personal injury lawyer is a good place to begin if you want to learn about your legal options for relief and wish to be informed about your choices before moving forward with a claim.
Prior Blog Entry:
Illinois Had 3rd-Most Train Accidents in 2015, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 6, 2016.
10 Statistics That Capture The Dangers of Texting and Driving, by Erin Schumaker, The Huffington Post, published July 7, 2015.