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Illinois residents appear frustrated with distracted drivers

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A car accident often has significant physical, financial and emotional consequences. It can be especially difficult when an accident was caused by a negligent or distracted driver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of distracted drivers on the road continues to increase. Statistics show that over 3,000 individuals were killed by a distracted driver in 2011, while approximately 87,000 were injured. Additionally, it is currently estimated that more than nine individuals are killed each day by a distracted driver and over 1,000 are injured.

Majority of Illinois residents support ban on cell phones while driving

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a recent survey revealing that a large number of Illinois residents appear frustrated with distracted drivers. Currently-pending legislation would impose a complete statewide ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving. The survey specifically found that approximately 85 percent of Illinois residents favor the ban, while only 12 percent oppose it.

An Illinois representative referred to the survey results as "good news" and stated that the public appears to be more educated on the dangers of distracted driving.

The legislation passed both the Illinois House and Senate in May and is now in the hands of the governor. If the legislation is passed, it could potentially reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road, as well as the number of distracted driving-related accidents.

Types of distracted driving

The CDC defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver's attention away from driving. The three main types of distraction are visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distraction occurs when a driver's eyes are taken off the road. Manual distraction involves a driver's hands being taken off the wheel, while cognitive distraction occurs when a driver's mind is taken off of driving.

Distracted driving comes in many forms, including:

  • Talking on a cell phone or texting
  • Using a navigation system
  • Eating or drinking

Texting is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distractions. Texting takes a driver's eyes off of the road more frequently and for longer periods of time than other forms of distracted driving. Younger individuals are especially prone to texting while driving . It is estimated that drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distracted driving-related fatal accidents.

Due to the increasing issue of distracted driving, many states are passing strict laws related to cell phone use, such as the pending Illinois legislation. Additionally, a ban enacted in 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits commercial drivers from texting while driving.

Injuries from an accident with a distracted driver often result in substantial medical bills, lost wages and extreme pain and suffering. An individual injured in an accident with a distracted driver could benefit by speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, protect important rights and help hold distracted drivers accountable.

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