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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

A couple driving and texting

The Illinois State Police are cracking down on drivers who are distracted while driving. In April, motorists will see increased patrols and enforcement zones across Illinois. Distracted driving would include adjusting a control, talking to passengers, sending a text message, talking on the phone, eating while driving, etc. Any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others. According to the National Safety Council, the emergence of texting has led to more accidents. On average, 9 people die every day in the U.S. related to distracted driving.

It is very easy to become distracted while driving your vehicle. So much to do and so little time, so we feel the need to multi-task in the car. Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. So if you were driving 55 mph, that 5 seconds would be as long as a football field. Is that 5 seconds worth risking your life or someone else’s?

Consequences of Distracted Driving

The worst consequence would be seriously injuring yourself or others as a result of distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, 3,166 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. The use of a cell phone especially texting and driving increases your chance of getting into a crash by 400%.

The Illinois State Police are giving out cell phone ticket penalties left and right in Illinois. Illinois law prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices for any purpose, including talking, texting or using apps. Drivers under 19 are prohibited from using any electronic devices, even hands-free. Prior to July 2019, a cell phone ticket has a maximum fine of $75 for first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth offense. This would not include any court costs.

As of July 1, 2019, anyone caught texting behind the wheel will be issued a moving violation, which will go on their driving record.

Causes of Distracted Driving Crashes

  • Cell Phone Use – 12%
  • Eating or Drinking - 2%
  • Talking to passengers – 5%
  • Messing with radio – 2%
  • Reaching for or using another device (navigation, etc.) – 2%
  • Looking at something outside of the car – 7%
  • Attending to pets or children – 1%
  • Daydreaming – 62%

Illinois State Police: Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

  • Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone, text, or email. Turn your phone off before you drive so that you won’t be tempted to answer a call.
  • Don’t touch that dial. Adjust your seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave.
  • Don’t multi-task while driving. Don’t use the vehicle’s mirrors for personal grooming when the vehicle is in motion.
  • Pull over to care for children. Change the baby, feed the kids, and buckle them into their vehicle seats before you leave.
  • Stop to eat or drink. It is much safer when you stop to eat or drink.

Have you been injured by a Distracted Driver?

Unfortunately, there are many distracted drivers on the road who continue to break the law. If you have been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case. Give us a call at 618-932-2772 or contact us via our convenient online form.