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Distracted Driver Accidents

In 2015, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. A recent American Automobile Association study suggests that almost everyone reaches for something, adjusts a control, or gets distracted while driving at some point. Each reach showcases why you need to worry about distracted driving. According to the Illinois State Police, distracted drivers and inattention are factors in more than 1 million car crashes in North America annually.

Are You A Distracted Driver?

When driving do you:

  • Shave?
  • Text or email?
  • Read or write?
  • Tune the radio?
  • Put on makeup?
  • Eat, drink, or smoke?
  • Talk on the cell phone?
  • Comb or brush your hair?
  • File, clip, or polish your nails?
  • Argue with another passenger?
  • Reach for the glove compartment?
  • Break up fights between your kids?
  • Put in contact lenses or eye drops?
  • Pick something up from the floor or between the seats?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, welcome to your status as a distracted driver. Almost every driver has engaged in at one point or another but any of these activities could easily lead to an accident. And some accidents can be fatal.

How To Avoid Distractions

To avoid being distraction, you can:

  • Limit interaction with other passengers
  • Avoid talking while driving
  • Avoid taking your eyes off the road
  • Keep both hands on the wheel

Most importantly, take distracted driving as seriously as driving under the influence. Both driving while intoxicated and texting while driving can result in following too closely, not braking on time, and weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. A recent study has found that drunk driving fatalities have decreased by 25% from 2002 to 2011. But distracted driving fatalities have increased by 22% from 2002 to 2011. Texting likely appears to cause the rise in distracted driving fatalities. With advances in technology, drivers easily get distracted behind the wheel. But drivers should always keep their eyes on the road. Realize that a distraction could easily result in a death or serious injury.

Distracted Driver Accidents

Illinois law prohibits the use of hand-held cellphones, texting or using other electronic communications while operating a motor vehicle. Hands-free devices or Blue Tooth technology is allowed for persons age 19 and older. If you must make a phone call, even with hands-free technology, it is recommended that you pull off to the side of the road before making the call.

The only time Illinois drivers can use a cell phone that is not hands free is:

  • To report an emergency situation.
  • While parked on the shoulder of a roadway.
  • While stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the vehicle is in neutral or park.

Drivers who are in a crash resulting from distracted driving may face criminal penalties and incarceration.

What Do I Do?

In car accidents where you have been injured, you may need to consult a personal injury lawyer to even the playing field with the claims representative or defense attorneys. Claim representatives have specialized training and experience . They are closely supervised to operate within strict insurance company guidelines. Sometimes insurance adjusters will go to great lengths to keep an injured car accident victim from hiring an attorney to represent him or her.

If I Am Involved in an Accident, What Should I Do?

  • Be safe. Make sure that you are safe and that all people involved are safe. Don’t step out into traffic. Traffic an extremely dangerous place.
  • If there is dangerous or serious situation at hand, do what you can to help or get help.
  • Call the police. If anyone is injured, call 911 and make sure an ambulance is on the way.
  • Document what just took place.
  • Take detailed notes. Get license plate numbers. Take pictures of everything.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. Tell a doctor about all of the parts of your body you may have injured, not just the parts that are hurting the most.
  • Don’t admit any liability at this time. Responsibility will be sorted out later when all of the facts are reviewed.
  • Get witness information – names and phone number, specifically. Document a description of witnesses.
  • If the police arrive, get any information on getting a copy of the police report. Take note on what agency the officer is with. Record information on the vehicle the officer is in.
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived. Ensure they receive the necessary information. If the police do not come, then make sure you have all of the above information before leaving.
  • Get all necessary information on the drivers, trucks, and towing companies if they tow your car. Find out where they take the vehicles.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury law firm for help.
  • Do not give a statement to the adverse driver’s insurance company without talking to an attorney first.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd today.

 

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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