Texting and driving continues to be a major problem on America’s roadways. In fact, a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis found that the use of electronic devices while driving remained relatively unchanged in 2012 from 2011 despite the pervasive warnings about its dangers.
Many states, including Illinois, have enacted stricter laws regarding texting while driving, but many Americans support even tougher enforcement measures. As this Health Day article states, a National Safety Council poll found that 73 percent of respondents wanted more enforcement of texting and driving laws, compared with 22 percent who found current enforcement levels satisfactory. Moreover, when asked about punishments for violators, 52 percent of respondents supported a point system that could lead to the loss of a driver’s license or higher car insurance costs. About half of respondents supported large fines, and half said there should be different levels of penalties for first and repeat offenders.
The risks and dangers of cellphone use while driving are significant, with thousands of lives lost every year as a result of distracted driving. In 2011, there were 3,360 distracted driving fatalities, and in 2012, there were 3,328 distracted driving fatalities and another 421,000 people were injured in 2012 in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. According to the National Safety Council, talking on a cellphone – whether handheld or hands-free – is believed to be a factor in 21 percent of car accidents, and 26 percent of auto accidents are believed to involve texting while driving.
According to Health Day, no state currently bans all cellphone use while driving, but thirteen states (including Illinois) and the District of Columbia ban the use of handheld cellphones by drivers, and 44 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving. Illinois passed more stringent distracted driving laws that took effect on January 1, 2014. One such law is the state-wide prohibition on handheld cell phone use. Drivers are required to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone if they want to talk on the phone while driving, and drivers caught using a handheld phone (except in the case of emergencies) may be subject to a fine of at least $75. The safest option, however, is to avoid cellphone use entirely while driving. Drivers should put their phone in the truck, turn it off, or put it on silent while driving so that there is no temptation to use the phone while driving.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Distracted drivers who injure another motorist face penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and up to a year of jail time if convicted. Distracted drivers involved in a fatal car accident could be charged with a Class 4 felony, for which a conviction carries fines of up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time.
A distracted driver who injures or kills someone could also be liable for money damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The Chicago auto accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC focus on representing the victims of auto accidents and are committed to getting maximum money damages for our clients. Our Chicago car accident attorneys have vast legal knowledge regarding auto accident lawsuits, along with considerable experience representing clients in distracted driving lawsuits, which allows us to effectively advocate on behalf of our clients.
If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by distracted driving, contact one of our Chicago car accident attorneys to learn more about how we can help you seek financial recovery through a personal injury lawsuit.