Illinois drivers who use their cellphones behind the wheel might be as dangerous as drivers who simply let their minds wander. A study by Erie Insurance examined a national database of fatal accidents and their causes as determined by law enforcement.

The study found that of 172,000 fatalities in motor vehicle accidents over a five-year period, distracted driving was a factor in around 10 percent. Despite the focus on cellphones as distractions, in more than 60 percent of the distracted driving fatalities, at least one driver was simply daydreaming. In comparison, cellphones were a factor in 14 percent of distracted driving fatalities.

Driving is generally a monotonous task, and it is normal for people’s attention to wander during these types of activities. While it is expected that autonomous cars will be significantly safer than human drivers, vehicles are likely to be semi-autonomous for some time before self-driving cars become widespread. Unfortunately, these semi-autonomous vehicles, which still require human monitoring, may exacerbate the problem. Reportedly, the Tesla Autopilot makes drivers even less attentive although it includes several alerts. Other companies might install eye-tracking software to check whether drivers are alert enough.

A person who is injured in a motor vehicle accident may want to contact an attorney. While most car accidents are caused by human error, some are caused faulty equipment. In a few cases, other entities might be held responsible such as a city or county that has repeatedly failed to address a dangerous intersection. Whoever is responsible in the accident may be liable for the expenses of the injured person. If the insurance company does not make a reasonable compensation offer, the next step might be to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit may be settled out of court if the injured person agrees to the terms.