In Illinois and across the U.S., distracted driving is becoming a sort of epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that in 2015, for example, nearly 3,500 people died and 391,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road constitutes a distraction, whether it’s talking on the phone, talking to other passengers, eating and drinking, or adjusting the radio.
With smartphones and in-car navigation systems more prevalent than ever, distracted driving is on the rise. During the daylight hours, an average of 660,000 drivers use their phones behind the wheel. NHTSA has found that sending and reading texts can take a driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds, which, in a car traveling at 55 mph, covers the length of an entire football field.
Teens are the largest age group to be found guilty of distracted driving at the time of an accident. While each state is responsible for creating the laws regarding distracted driving, NHTSA has been striving to raise awareness of the risks associated with this behavior. April is considered Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and during this month NHTSA strengthens its nationwide advertising campaign. The agency also releases public service announcements regularly on Facebook and Twitter and encourages parents, teachers, and employers to set an example as well.
Drivers are responsible for keeping their vehicles under control, so when they cause a car accident because they were distracted, they will be liable for victims’ losses. To be reimbursed for their medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses, victims can file a claim with the help of an accident attorney. Such attorneys can build up a case with the help of investigators and other experts. They can also handle all negotiations with the insurance companies and litigate if necessary.