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What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

It is no secret that driving can be dangerous. Car accidents on the road have the potential for serious bodily injury and are the leading cause of fatalities among teenagers in the U.S. However, many drivers underestimate the risk involved in diverting their attention away from the road, even momentarily, to perform tasks such as changing the radio station or conversing with passengers. In fact, the official U.S. government website for distracted driving estimates that 431,000 people were injured in collisions involving distracted drivers during 2014 alone.

What Is Distracted Driving?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving occurs when a visual, cognitive, or manual stimuli diverts a driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle. NHTSA research also found distracted driving as a leading cause of accidents with drivers diverting their attention as little as three seconds before a crash.

Actions which can constitute distracted driving include:

  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking on the phone
  • Applying make up
  • Reaching for an item in the back seat
  • Looking at an unrelated external object
  • Reading or writing
  • Changing the radio

While many of the actions listed above, such as changing the radio station, are not illegal on their own, a negligent driver who causes an accident due to inattentive driving can be held liable in both criminal and civil court. Other acts of distracted driving, such as the use of a cell phone, are prohibited by law, and for good reasons. According to research by the American Automobile Association, it can take 27 seconds on average for a driver to fully re-engage with the task of driving after interacting with a cell phone.

Beginning on January 1st, 2014, Illinois issued a statewide ban on the use of cell phones while driving. Although hands-free devices can be used during normal conditions, they too are banned while (1) in a school zone, (2) in certain construction zones, and (3) for new drivers. Illinois also prohibits the sending of text messages or emailing by use of an electronic device, including cell phones.

Holding Negligent Drivers Accountable.

Distracted driving is clearly a big issue on the road today. If you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, statistically, there is a good chance that the driver of the other car may have been distracted. As Illinois is a “fault car insurance state”, proving driver negligence can greatly impact your ability to collect monetary compensation.

In the event that you are involved in an accident, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Check on the safety of all parties involved in the accident
  • Contact the police and file an accident report
  • Exchange information with the other drivers
  • Collect and gather evidence regarding the collision
  • Notify your insurance carrier about the accident
  • Hire a knowledgeable car accident attorney

Attorneys with 50+ Years of Combined Experience

At Boudreau & Nisivaco, LLC, we know how traumatic a car accident can be, especially when damages are the result of a distracted driver. Our Chicago car accident attorneys have recovered more than $100 million for past clients and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve. Let our firm handle the legal paperwork so you can focus on rest and recovery.

Call (312) 620-1261 to schedule a free consultation and talk to an attorney about your case.