Fatal Car Crashes on the Rise in Illinois
Kane County Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
“Phone in one hand, ticket in the other.” This has become the slogan that many drivers are seeing as they drive on the Illinois toll roads this year. As of August 2013, hand-held cell phone use is unlawful in the State of Illinois. Texting or calling while driving is not only unlawful, but it is extremely dangerous and has caused more than 6,000 crashes between 2009 and 2013. Additionally, more people have died so far in 2015 compared to this time last year. The crashes that are not fatal often result in massive personal injuries that require legal recourse.
While the numbers in Illinois are frightening, the national toll is even higher. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 7,500 people have died in the first quarter of 2015—a 10 percent rise since 2014. Even worse is the fact that the National Safety Council believes there is significant under-reporting of cell phone involvement in fatal car crashes—meaning that the numbers of crashes specifically involving cell phones may be skewed.
Local campaigns and targeted local crackdowns in Illinois are certainly bringing additional awareness to the issues surrounding distracted driving, but the question is whether this awareness is actually combating the issue. Another innovative approach to the problem is getting companies involved with their employees. It is estimated by the National Safety Council that one in five Fortune 500 companies now bans its employees from talking on a cell phone while driving. This ban is designed to prevent crashes while workers are on the clock, limiting the employers’ possible liability as well as helping keep insurance premiums down for employees. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has also adopted this approach by banning commercial drivers from texting and driving while on duty.
Cell phones are portrayed as the biggest distracted driving tool, but many other things can contribute to the rising numbers of car accidents in the State of Illinois. Though eating, drinking, radio use, and dealing with children have always been key distractions, the invention of GPS, “smart” watches, satellite radio, and applications as detailed as a cell phone on a navigation system have contributed to the crisis. In Illinois, it is clear that the law involving electronic communication devices on the roadways is not limited to cell phones, but rather, lists a non-exhaustive list of possible violations.
While the public generally believes that texting and driving is more dangerous than talking (yes, even hands-free talking) and driving, the statistics do not necessarily support this. According to a 2014 USA Today article that explored the dangers of cell phone use and driving, it is estimated that cellphones were a factor in 26 percent of car accidents nationwide. Of this 26 percent, however, the National Safety Council reported only five percent of these accidents being directly attributed to texting. This suggests that most accidents occur from cell phone use generally, not in the context limited to texting.
Cellular phone use, whether hands-free or otherwise, can cause a driver to miss “visual cues”, much in the same way a drunk driver may operate a vehicle. National Safety Council research specifically points out that distracted drivers may not see pedestrians, stop signs, lights, or other items ahead of the driver or in the peripheral. The concern that someone is looking at a screen instead of the road ahead is a very real problem that many of us have experienced, whether we would like to admit it or not.
Kane County Car Accident Attorneys
At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our compassionate and experienced Kane County personal injury attorneys know how to navigate even the most complex car accident claims in Illinois. Regardless of whether the accident was a result of distracted driving or other factors, we can help you understand the litigation process from start to finish. We want our clients to be involved in their case and know what is going on throughout the whole process. Our convenient St. Charles office location serves the greater Western Suburbs of Chicago, including Kane, DuPage, Kendall, and DeKalb Counties, and the cities of Geneva, St. Charles, Batavia, Wheaton, Aurora, Naperville, and the Fox Valley area. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact our office at 630-377-7770 to learn more about your legal rights today.