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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Distracted Driving is a Leading Cause of Car Accidents

by Jared Staver in Auto Accidents, Personal Injury

One of the leading causes of car accidents today is distracted driving. Distracted driving is an umbrella term with many possible causes: the use of cell phones for talking, checking email or texting, changing the station on the radio, even engaging in conversation with a passenger. However, no matter the cause, distracted driving can result in a car accident with the possibility of serious injury or even death.

According to Recent Academic Research, Distracted Driving is Among the Leading Causes of Accidents Today

As has been reported by the Chicago Tribune, research from Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute found that two-thirds of drivers are distracted in the seconds before an accident. The applicable study was conducted by installing video cameras and other tracking devices in the cars of the more than 3,500 vehicles of the volunteer drivers between the ages of 16 and 98 who agreed to participate in a study of their driving habits over a more than three-year period.

This same research found that engaging in distracting activities while behind the wheel more than doubles the risk of a crash as compared with drivers who simply focus on the road instead of engaging in other activities while driving. Separate research by the National Safety Council found that more than 24% of accidents on America’s roads involved cell phone use by one or more drivers.

Nevertheless, as the Tribune has reported, more than half the drivers in the Virginia Tech study engaged in the distracting activities while behind the wheel. This is particularly interesting considering that these drivers had volunteered to take part in this study and knew that their behavior was not only being recorded but analyzed as a condition of their participation in the study, which begs the question as to whether these trends are even higher amongst the general public.

This trend persists despite the fact that multiple states have enacted laws making it a criminal offense to use one’s cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Illinois bans text messaging while driving and also bans:

  • All cell phone use while driving in a school zone or a highway construction zone, and
  • All cell phone use by a novice driver

The Takeaway from this Research: Put Your Cell Phone Down and Focus on the Road

The takeaway from this research is that you should put your put down your cell phone and concentrate on the road when you are behind the wheel. All it takes is one second of not paying attention to the road to check an email or return a text message from your spouse or a friend to cause an accident. Other tips include pulling over if you absolutely need to make a phone call or send an email to a work colleague or make a telephone call or ensuring that you are not fiddling with the radio or switching stations excessively when driving. (Note that publication Business Insider reviewed studies noting that has that even making a telephone call using a Bluetooth communication device or other handsfree device is equivalent to driving while drunk). To put the problem in perspective, according to 2014 statistics compiled by the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 6,000,000 automobile accidents, in which more than 30,000 Americans died and another 2,300,000 were injured in 2014.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact a Chicago attorney right away. Many personal injury or wrongful death cases go to court involving accidents caused by a distracted drivers, and you’ll want an experienced attorney by your side when negotiating with the other driver and his or her insurance company. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900.

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