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Distracted Driving: How Dangerous is it to Use a Cell Phone and Drive?

Driving car with mobile phone

Illinois has passed several laws prohibiting texting while driving. As of 2019, violating Illinois’ hands-free laws is a moving violation, including stiffer penalties. The reasons behind the Illinois prohibition on cell phone use while driving are clear: Texting and driving is extremely dangerous. If you were injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you are not alone, and you may have a substantial claim for relief. Read on to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. If you’ve been hurt in a Chicagoland car crash with a distracted driver, call AFW Law Group so we can link you up with a dedicated Illinois traffic accident lawyer for advice and representation.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Safety officials have warned of the dangers of distracted driving over the past two decades. As the use of cell phones has increased, so have the risks associated with distracted driving. According to traffic safety experts, texting while driving is among the worst types of distracted driving because it triggers all three categories of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual distractions refer to anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. Cognitive distractions refer to anything that takes a driver’s attention off the task of driving. Manual distractions include anything that causes a driver to take their hands off the wheel while driving. Different types of distractions are more or less concerning based on what type of distraction is involved. Texting while driving hits all three: Drivers take their hands off the wheel to hold the phone, they are focusing on the material they are reading or writing instead of driving, and they are looking at the screen instead of the road.

Safety officials point to the visual of texting while driving distraction as especially dangerous. Reading and responding to a text message takes an average of around five seconds. A driver who is looking at their phone for five seconds while driving at 55mph travels the length of a football field while they might as well be driving blindfolded. That’s not to mention traveling that same distance with their hands off the wheel and their brain elsewhere.

Distracted Driving Causes Thousands of Fatal Accidents Every Year

The dangers of distracted driving are apparent when looking at the car crash numbers. In 2019, 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents across the country. That number represents close to nine percent of all traffic fatalities that year, as reported by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another 280,000 motorists were injured in distracted driving crashes the same year.

Despite cell phone bans across the country, distracted driving accidents continue to rise. The 2019 distracted driving fatality figures were up nearly 20 percent from 2,628 deaths in 2018, which saw a drop from 3,003 deaths in 2017. The injury accident figures tell the same story: There were 276,000 distracted driving accident injuries in 2018 and 285,000 injuries in 2017. From 2012 through 2019, 26,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. Drivers aged 16 to 24 are at especially high risk of distracted driving accidents, although drivers across the spectrum text while driving at alarmingly high rates.

In Illinois, distracted driving is connected to around 3.8 percent of all traffic crashes, including 3.6 percent of all traffic deaths and 5.2 percent of all driving-related injuries. In 2019, 36 people in Illinois were killed in distracted driving accidents and over 4,600 more were injured. Drivers who cause crashes while texting can and should be held accountable for the carnage they cause.

Reach out to a Passionate Illinois Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been in an accident in Chicago or the surrounding area, you need an experienced legal advisor on your side. AFW Law Group can put you in touch with an attorney who is ready to fight for you and will stand by your side every step of the way until you get the compensation you deserve. Call our Illinois personal injury law firm today for a free initial consultation.

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