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Reading While Driving Linked to Increased Risk of a Car Crash

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


Getting hurt in a car accident caused by someone reading while driving is a serious case of distracted driving.

It is tough sitting in traffic or driving the same route day after day. Some people’s morning commute is two hours when the ride should really only take one. A mile stretch of freeway or a busy neighborhood street should be a few minutes in the car, but instead, bumper-to-bumper traffic makes it last 15 to 20 minutes. Driving can be as boring as it can be thrilling, depending on the driver and the circumstances. But just because a driver wants to be able to multitask or entertain themselves does not mean they should pull out something to read.

Believe it or not, people have been known to read the newspaper, a book, or even an e-reader like a Kindle or Nook when they are behind the wheel. The dangers of such a habit are obvious. Reading while driving causes a person to:

  • Take their eyes off the road,
  • Take at least one hand off the wheel, and
  • Devote their attention to a story instead of safety.

Reading is a Major Distraction

If a driver’s head is in a book, how quickly will they notice the car in front of them brake? If a driver’s eyes are scanning a Kindle, when will they notice the child running out into the street to get their stray basketball?

While the media and many law enforcement agencies dwell on the distractions caused by talking and texting on a cell phone, reading is just as bad. In fact, it may pull away a driver’s attention even more than the occasional text.

The Danger is Real

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute analyzed driver data collected over a 3 year period and found that reading or writing while driving increased the risk of a crash by 10 times.

A driver who is reading is not a little more likely to collide with another car, pedestrian, or object. That driver is 10 times more like to causes a crash that could hurt or kill themselves and injure or kill others.

It is a risk no one should be willing to take.

How to Quit the Habit

If a driver has become accustomed to doing other things while driving like reading, they need to make an effort to replace this bad habit with a safe one.

For instance, instead of reading the newspaper, turn on NPR in the morning or find a news-related podcast. The number and type of podcasts are almost limitless now, so a driver should be able to find something to suit their taste.

A driver who wants something funny can listen to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, which is usually recorded live in downtown Chicago. Or the driver can download Harmontown or Comedy Bang! Bang! for laughs during their drive.

Someone who is more interested in fiction can download a podcast like Welcome to Night Vale or purchase audio books.

There is no need to be distracted while driving with a book in your hands when there is so much to listen to on the radio or Internet.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

Injured in a car accident? Call the personal injury lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away at (312) 236-2900. Reading is a serious distraction that lead to the other person’s negligence and your injuries. Don’t fight for your recovery on your own when Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can fight for you.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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