Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

August 31, 2011

As the School Year Begins, Officials Focus on Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Illinois

As our teens head back to school for another year, officials head back to the drawing board to figure out ways to help keep our teen drivers from being involved in a car accident in Illinois. In another effort to keep our young driver safe, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently teamed up with the Illinois Secretary of State and Illinois State Police (ISP) to kick off the fifth year of the Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD) program.

“Whether the issue is texting, speed, or distracted or impaired driving, the program is successful because teens are directly educating their peers about the hazards of irresponsible driving behavior, and the messages continue to resonate with one another,” said Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand the number of risks that our teen drivers face on our roadways. Their inexperience behind the wheel leaves them extremely vulnerable to serious traffic accidents. With the proper driving education and with the help of parents, teens can be taught the skills necessary to help keep them safe.

Currently, the state of Illinois requires that's its newly licensed drivers complete a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This is a system that allows teen drivers to learn how to drive through a three stage process in which they must abide by a number of restrictions.

Illinois GDL program:

-15-year-old drivers: Drivers in this age group must always ride with a licensed parent or guardian. They must also be enrolled in a driver's education program and must pass the exams. They're not allowed to drive Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. On Thursday and Friday these drivers can drive until 11:00 p.m. A driver must hold this license for a minimum of nine months and complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with 10 hours of the 50 occurring during the evening hours. Drivers that are 15-years-old are not allowed to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

-Drivers Age ages 16- and 17-years-old: Driving is prohibited from Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for drivers in this age group. They're allowed to drive until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Drivers must maintain a conviction-free driving record for the six months before they turn 18 before they can graduate to the Full Licensing Phase. All drivers in this age group must wear a seat belt while driving and can only have one passenger in the front seat. Drivers in this age group are prohibited from using a cell phone.

-18- to 20-year-old drivers: A driver can now drive with normal unrestricted license privileges provided they've passed all of the other licensing stages. No driver under the age of 19 is allowed to use a cell phone while driving unless they're using it for emergency purposes.

"Teen drivers who are educated and informed, develop safe and responsible driving habits as adults - and that is a safety goal OTSD is already achieving," said ISP Col. Robert Haley.

More than 100 local high schools participated in the fifth year of the Operation Teen Safe Driving program in an attempt to help educate young drivers. These students participated in a number of school assemblies, accident enactment seminars, fatal accident simulations and other informational events.

Each school was able to fund the program through a $2,000 grant from the participating organizations. Each school then participated in a contest to determine who led the best and most effective peer-led teen safe driving program. Winning schools received prize money to help them fund post-prom events aimed at encouraging kids to stay sober this school year.

They were also invited to participate in the Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive event.

As teens head back to school this year, parents are urged to speak with the young driver's in their life about the importance of safe driving habits.

Continue reading "As the School Year Begins, Officials Focus on Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Illinois" »

August 25, 2011

Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago Believed to be underestimated

Distracted driving has become a critical safety issue in recent years with the continuous advancement in technology and is now a contributing factor in a great number of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the world.

Now, Car Talk has totaled the costs of distracted driving, according to the Chicago Tribune. According to the National Safety Council, each distracted driving traffic accident costs about $1,130,000 if there's a fatality, approximately $61,600 if there's a resulting injury and about $7,500 per accident resulting in property damage. Nearly 30 percent of all traffic accidents involve a distracted driver. These are accidents that can all be prevented.

The occurrence of these accidents is expected to be even higher than statistics conclude because many are not reported. In 2009, there were approximately 5,400 people killed in traffic accidents that reported the involvement of a distracted driver. Another 450,000 motorists were injured in these accidents. Experts also estimate that the number of these preventable accidents has increased by as much as 10 percent just in the last 5 years.

Our Chicago car crash attorneys understand how dangerous it is to drive distracted. Nowadays, distractions include other passengers, mobile devices, music, eating at the wheel and grooming, to name a few. No driver should participate in any of these activities while operating a motor vehicle as the results can oftentimes be deadly. Distractions can either take your mind or eyes of the road and your hands off the wheel.

An insurance company recently paid out more than $30 million in a settlement for a deadly car accident that was caused by distracted driving, according to Jesse White, the Secretary of State.

Illinois roadways are dangerous enough as it is without the involvement of distraction. According to recent statistics, our state experiences more than 700 traffic accidents every day. This means that we see nearly 240,000 motor-vehicle accidents every year.

Here are some other Illinois traffic accident facts:

-Accidents resulting in injury: more than 197,000.

-Alcohol-related accidents: more than 20,000.

-Drug-related accidents: nearly 2,000.

-Pedestrian accidents: nearly 8,500.

-Motorcycle accidents: nearly 9,000.

-Teen accidents: nearly 25,000.

-Bicycle accidents: almost 5,000.

Currently, drivers in the state of Illinois are not allowed to be on a cell phone if they are driving through a construction zone or through a school speed zone or if they're under the age of 19 and have a learner's permit. No driver in the state of Illinois is allowed to text message while driving. This is a primary law, meaning that an officer can pull you over for the offense if they witness you in action. The text messaging law went into effect back in January of 2010. You will receive a $75 fine if you're busted.

Our state will continue to campaign about the danger of distracted driving through public campaigns, including the “Drive Now. Text Later” campaign.

Continue reading "Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago Believed to be underestimated" »

August 23, 2011

Law Enforcement Steps Up Efforts to Reduce Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents in Illinois this Holiday Weekend

Drunk drivers are the target of a new campaign headed by a number of local police departments and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” will include a two-week enforcement effort consisting of roughly 350 sheriff's offices and police departments across the state. The enforcement efforts will continue through the first week of September in an attempt to bust drunk drivers before they cause a potentially fatal car accident in Illinois.
“Impaired driving is a serious crime plaguing our society, and affecting the lives of innocent, law abiding motorists on a regular basis,” said Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Our Chicago drunk driving accident attorneys understand how dangerous these drivers are and how important it is to set up tough efforts to stop them. Through this new campaign, enforcement agencies throughout the state are prepared to take on these careless and reckless drivers.

Officials are also looking to crackdown on drivers that are not wearing a seat belt.

Through the enforcement period, the state of Illinois will conduct more than 200 roadside safe driving checkpoints. There will be hundreds of seat belt and intoxicated driving saturation patrols.

According to IDOT, both impaired driving and drivers not wearing a seat belt are a big problem that officials witness mainly during the evening hours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drivers are at the most risk for a car accident during 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. in the state of Illinois. This time period also reports the lowest seat belt usage and the highest percentage of drunk drivers.

“Violating these laws can result in fines and possible jail time and will be treated as criminal acts by the police and court system,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.

Illinois accident statistics conclude that there are more than 300 fatalities each year that result from traffic accidents that involve an impaired driver. Hundreds more are injured in the incidents.

During the 2010 Labor Day weekend, which is calculated from 6:00 p.m. from the Friday before the holiday to 11:59 p.m. of Labor Day, more than 10 people were killed in traffic accidents. One of these deaths involved an intoxicated driver. Nearly 800 people were injured on our roadways during the 2010 holiday weekend. There have been roughly 70 deaths from traffic accidents from 2006 to 2010 on holiday weekends. Nearly 40 percent of the fatalities were caused by car accidents that involved an impaired driver.

Local police ask that you help with the efforts by doing the following if you suspect that a driver is drunk:

-Take note of the make, model and color of the vehicle that the alleged intoxicated driver is operating.

-Call local authorities with the information. Include the location of the vehicle and the direction it's traveling. If possible, give them the license plate number but don't get too close to the vehicle to get it. If you can see the driver, provide officials with that information, too.

-Back off. Don't try to stop the driver. Doing so can put you and your vehicle's occupants in a compromising situation. Leave the rest of the job in the hands of officers.

Continue reading "Law Enforcement Steps Up Efforts to Reduce Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents in Illinois this Holiday Weekend" »

August 21, 2011

Deadly Chicago area auto accident caused by wrong way driver

Two people have died in an Illinois car crash caused by a man who drove his red Porsche the wrong way down an Illinois tollway. The man had allegedly been arrested for DUI twice in the past, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. Police are still trying to figure out why the man was driving recklessly and why there was U.S. currency flying out of the care before the accident.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the collision occurred near Lisle, Illinois on I-88, in between I-355 and Route 53, during the early evening on Saturday. The 43 year-old driver of the Porsche was heading east when he used an emergency vehicle turnaround to enter the westbound lanes, and continued to head east. Soon after, the Porsche collided with a 2004 Toyota Corolla carrying three people, killing two and placing one in critical condition.

Illinois State Police identified the two victims as a 37 year-old woman and her 74 year-old father. A 42 year-old passenger is in critical condition. The family was on their way to a mosque when the crash occurred, and other family members headed to the same destination were close enough to hear the collision and make an attempt to pull the victims from the wreckage.

The Chicago Tribune later reported that witnesses saw money flying out of the Porsche as it was driving down the road. One witness said that when she passed by the driver, she saw the man grab a handful of cash from his passenger seat and throw it out the window. She also saw multiple cars pull off to the shoulder of the road in what she assumed was an effort to pick up the ejected money.

The man’s previous DUI arrests were drug, not alcohol related, the Tribune article stated, although he was convicted in 2010 for transporting open alcohol containers after police found three empty beer cans in his car. The man had been a practicing dentist in Naperville, Illinois, but had quit around a year ago because he said he was losing money. On July 28 of this year, his mortgage company filed foreclosure documents on his Naperville, Illinois home.

No matter how many precautions you may take while driving, there are always factors beyond your control that can cause serious injury or death, such as the wrong way motorist in this accident.

It has not been reported if a Chicago injury lawyer is involved in this case yet or if a civil lawsuit has been filed.

August 18, 2011

Illinois personal injury lawyer settles auto accident case for insurance policy limits

Chicago car crash attorneys have reached a settlement on behalf of a Cook County resident that was injured by an inattentive driver who rear-ended him as he was preparing to turn into a shopping mall parking lot. The victim suffered injuries to his neck and back.

On September 24, 2009, our client was traveling southbound on 25th Avenue in Bellwood, Illinois when he turned his right turn signal on and began to slow down to an appropriate turning speed. Before he could attempt the turn, a 1994 Chevy Lumina failed to yield to the victim and rear-ended his 2006 Honda Ridgeline. The Bellwood Police Department responded to the scene and after a brief investigation, they placed the driver of the Honda at fault.

Immediately following the collision, the victim had an onset of back and neck pain that required him to be taken to Loyola University Medical Center by ambulance. The hospital performed a series of diagnostic tests and initially diagnosed him with a cervical strain and thoracic spine pain. He was placed in an aspen collar, prescribed pain medication, and instructed to seek follow up treatment with an orthopaedic doctor.

Six days after the accident occurred, ongoing and worsening pain in the victim’s neck, right arm, and left arm necessitated a trip back to the hospital emergency room. After more tests, doctors found that he had tenderness in the paraspinal musculature and instructed him to begin physical therapy and seek further treatment if necessary.

After an examination by an orthopedic physician in October, the doctor ordered an MRI as he believed the plaintiff may have sustained a herniated disc in the accident. The MRI results showed plaintiff sustained a disc bulge with at C3-4 level, peripheral right sided neural foraminal encroachment and impression upon the thecal sac, a right sided posterolateral disc herniation at the C4-5 level, encroachment of the exiting nerve root zone, and proximal right neural foramen, and a disc bulge at the C7-T1 level and peripheral neural foraminal encroachment bilaterally.

The doctor recommended that he receive a cervical spine epidural injection if his radicular symptoms continued. Our client completed fifteen sessions of physical therapy, but the pain of the injury continued, limiting his ability to conduct daily life activities.

Illinois injury attorneys at our office obtained the defendant's $20,000 insurance policy limits. The case against the at fault driver resolved without having to commit to a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit. That being said, attorneys at our office believe the value of his injuries are greater than $20,000, so we are now pursuing an underinsured motorist claim against the plaintiffs own auto insurance carrier to recover an additional amount.

You may be entitled to compensation for your auto accident injuries if they were caused by the fault of another. Contact the lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free, no obligation case evaluation and see what your options are. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

August 16, 2011

Two Children Injured in a Three-Car Accident in Illinois

A recent three-car accident in Illinois seriously injured two children. The traffic accident took place at Illinois 15 and 74th Street. According to Police Capt. Don Sax, an 11-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy were transported to a St. Louis hospital and both were listed in serious condition, according to Belleville Daily News.

The accident happened when the driver of a van slammed into the back of the vehicle that the child passengers were in as the light changed to green and the family's vehicle started to pass through the intersection. Officials did not see any skid marks left from either of the vehicles, which indicates that the mini wan was traveling at full-speed, or at about 55 mph. The family's vehicle was pushed into an SUV that was in front of them.

We can expect to see an increased number of car accidents on our roadways throughout the rest of the month as August has been repeatedly proven to be the deadliest month on all U.S. roadways. According to MSN Money, more accidents have occurred in the month of August than during any other month since 1994. Our Chicago auto accident attorneys understand that one of the top contributors to this trend is the increase in traffic during August. This is one of the busiest months on our roadways and many residents are out taking summer trips, running errands and venturing out on vacations.

More specifically, August has a death rate of 1.09 per 100 million miles traveled. The second deadliest month is September with a death rate of 1.08. The safest month to be on our roadways is March as it has a death rate of 0.94.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was an average of 93 people killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. every day in 2009. That equals one traffic fatality every 16 minutes. Through extensive research, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has concluded that 7 of the deadliest 25 days occur in the month of August.

Residents typically have more time for travel in August. For the same reason, we experience more traffic-accident fatalities on weekends rather than on weekdays. Weekends are also a time when we witness more drunk driving.

Saturdays are the deadliest of the weekend days. In 2009, Saturdays averaged about 123 deaths a day. Sundays averaged about 107 deaths a day, followed by 103 deaths on Fridays.

Here are the week's remaining average daily roadway fatalities for 2009:

-Mondays: 79 deaths.

-Wednesdays: 78 deaths.

-Thursdays: deaths 84.

"A large proportion of crashes happen in late afternoon and early evening in general, but especially in August," says Russ Rader, a spokesman for the institute. That's when the roads fill up both with commuters and vacationers.

The Institute reports that more than 33,800 people were killed in traffic accidents on U.S. roads in 2009:

-Those ages 13 to 15 accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities.

-16 to 19: 9 percent.

-20 to 34: 31 percent.

-35 to 49, 23 percent.

-50 to 69, 22 percent.

-70 and up, 12 percent.

Continue reading "Two Children Injured in a Three-Car Accident in Illinois" »

August 14, 2011

New Technology Aims to Curb Driver Distractions and Prevent Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere

Connected cars could soon be flooding our roadways in an attempt to reduce the risks of Chicago car accidents. But wait! Safe driving advocates are worried that the technology within the new smart cars will require complex interactions between multiple software and service providers, according to Forbes. As drivers purchase vehicles in the coming years, they will be directed to configure their vehicle via the Internet. This configuration will offer the vehicle a number of enhancements and alterations, including desktop and mobile Web portals and smartphone apps. Through this update, drivers would integrate their smartphone with their vehicle system and will be provided with a safety-focused link for driver services.

This system comes with some expected complications as services become more complex. Safe driving advocates cite the range of entertainment and information services that can be accessed through the smartphone as potential driver distractions. It's no surprise that drivers are already engaging in these activities as these devices have become expressions of our digital selves. They have the ability to capture and communicate our trips and travels and the success of this technology is reflected in the rate of accidents caused by distracted driving.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that many motorists anticipate the new technology; it can be used to reduce unwanted service trips and increase gas mileage. These smart cars will also come with additional safety services, such as crash notification and roadside assistance. But all these features serve as potential distractions to drivers.

While self-driving vehicles aren't in our immediate future, they sure are on their way. Some believe that this emerging vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology could be the key to preventing accidents.

That form of technology uses wireless communication between vehicles, traffic signals, speed detection radar and smartphones to detect when other vehicles are dangerously close and may cause a serious accident. When the technology senses these dangers, it warns drivers so that they're able to avoid the collision. The vehicle can even activate brakes automatically if the driver fails to respond.

"I just don't think the America public is ready for a driverless car," says National Highway Traffic Safety Association Administrator David Strickland. "I've ridden in Google's car and it is fantastic, but it is not foolproof."

To get the technology to our roadways as quickly as possible, the U.S. Department of Transportation is conducting extensive research on the systems. They estimate that the technology could prevent up to 80 percent of potential accidents.

"We are extremely encouraged by the research, analysis of the safety data, and the ongoing work that all point to vehicle-to-vehicle as the next major safety breakthrough," said Strickland.

Until driverless vehicles become the norm, drivers will no doubt welcome the new smartphone features. When the car is in park, the vehicle will enable full smartphone access. During this time, a driver can interact with apps and cloud services via vehicle resources, including a smart display screen and knobs. Upon moving, the vehicle will turn off screen images that cause distraction. It will take it even one step further though, by shutting down all touch controls and requiring voice commands while in the vehicle is in motion.

While manufacturers continue to push new technology for safer roadways, we must remember that there is nothing safer than alert and focused driving habits as computer systems and other technological advancements are not free from malfunctions. Keep your eyes and ears on the road and curb potential distractions to help avoid a fatal car accident.

Continue reading "New Technology Aims to Curb Driver Distractions and Prevent Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere" »

August 12, 2011

Expressways Experience Frequent Fatal Car Accidents in Chicago

A number of lanes on the outbound Eisenhower Expressway near Austin were shut down because of a fatal SUV accident in Chicago that happened during early morning rush hour, according to NBC Chicago.

The accident occurred just before 4 a.m. on I-290 just west of Austin. The 18-year-old driver of the SUV was thrown from the vehicle when he lost control of his SUV, crashed into the median and flipped over. The young driver was killed in the accident, according to Illinois State Police. The teen driver was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident and speed might have been a factor in the crash.

Just a few days later, all of the lanes of the inbound Stevenson Expressway were closed for approximately six hours because of a fatal car accident with a dump truck, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand the dangers of driving on interstates and highways. High speeds often contribute to serious or fatal injuries. And morning and afternoon commutes are rife with distractions -- including cell phones, breakfast, grooming and an array of assorted tasks best left outside the vehicle.

Here is the most recent data regarding Illinois Fatal Crash Data for year-to-date 2011 (August 11), provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT):

-There have been 460 fatal traffic accidents.

-Fatal accidents took the lived of 509 people.

-Fatality numbers for 2011 year to date was 518.

-We have experienced 9 less fatalities year to date from 2010.

Follow these safe driving tips to help prevent a fatal expressway car accident:

-Don't tailgate. Make sure you keep a safe following distance by using the “3 second rule.” This means you should keep 3 seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You are able to time this by finding a fixed object on the side of the road and measuring the amount of time between when the car in front of you passes the object and when you pass that same object.

-Look ahead. You are urged to keep your eyes on the roadway ahead of you so that you're able to detect upcoming changes in speed or obstacles before you reach them. By looking ahead, you will have ample time to react to changing highway conditions.

-Abide by the posted speed limit. Speeding can increase your chance of a fatal accident.

-Be aware of your blind spots. Be aware of your surroundings at all time. Check blind spots before changing lanes.

-Always use your signals. Signaling before making any change in direction increases your predictability and decreases your risks for a serious collision.

-Keep to the right. The left lane on a divided highway is not a "fast" lane but more of a passing lane.

-After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you've safely cleared the vehicle.

-Carry a cellular phone in case of emergencies.

Continue reading "Expressways Experience Frequent Fatal Car Accidents in Chicago" »

August 8, 2011

Teen's Car Can Help Keep Them Safe in Event of a Chicago Car Accident

A teenage driver and a private in the Illinois Army National Guard lost their lives in a single-car accident in Illinois. It happened when the vehicle left the road, spun out into a ditch and then struck a tree, according to the Woodridge Patch. The two later passed away at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.

The type of vehicle your teen drives can mean the difference between life and death in the event of an accident, but how do parents select a vehicle that is both safe and affordable? Our Chicago car accident attorneys are parents, too! We understand there are a lot of questions that need answering before purchasing a vehicle. You may be even more confused when selecting a vehicle for your newly licensed teen. You may be wondering things like: Should I buy them a used or a new car? What type of car should I get them? Which ones are the most reliable?

"Having a car is not a birthright," says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, who raised four children. "Today's teens seem to think that they should have a car waiting for them in the driveway when they return home from the Motor Vehicle Department with their driver's license. If that's right for your family, fine. But don't be held hostage to peer pressure, and by that I mean from other families who are buying their teen a car."

We're going to help our children out no matter what, so here goes. First you will need to determine if you're going to get a new or a used vehicle? If you've got a budget, as most of us do, you're almost always better off getting a used car. A certified pre-owned car will be able to provide you with the advantages of a new-car like warranty. You might be able to get better financing rates too!

"A first time driver doesn't need a new car, but of course they want one," says Lori Mackey, president of Prosperity4Kids. "The depreciation, probability of fender benders and the price tag [means new] is not the most logical way to go."

New cars will have all of the latest features, but late-model used cars will still come with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and reasonable power and performance. You're going to want to select a car for them that has a responsive chassis, making sure it handles well, has quick steering and has a good brake system.

So once you've figured out whether you're going to go new or used, you've got to start thinking about what kind of car you're going to go for. At this point it is important for you to take their safety into consideration. You can check out safety ratings and other crash-test information from a number of organizations including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You're also urged to look at J.D. Power and Associates for reliability and other quality ratings.

"I see these young, inexperienced drivers in Mustangs, BMWs, and large SUVs. These automobiles are big, powerful and difficult to control for even experienced drivers. In the hands of a new driver, they can be deadly weapons," says LeeAnn Shattuck, co-owner and chief car chick with Women's Automotive Solutions.

Remember that you don't want to go too small. The smaller the car, the less likely it will be to protect your teen in the event of a front-end accident.

"Your teen is safest in a mid-sized sedan with a four cylinder engine, airbags and a good crash test rating," says Shattuck.

No matter what way you go about it, selecting a car for your teen is going to take a lot of time and a lot of research. This may be one of the most important decisions you'll have to make in your teen's life.

"Don't feel you have to buy the first car you see," says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director for Kelley Blue Book.

Continue reading "Teen's Car Can Help Keep Them Safe in Event of a Chicago Car Accident" »

August 6, 2011

New Report Focuses on Causes of and Solutions to Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere

The first comprehensive overview summarizing and analyzing distracted driving research for state officials was released last month by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The report looked into research from more than 350 scientific papers published between 2000 and 2011. The report, Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, looks into the habits of distracted drivers and their influence on car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in the United States. It also looks into creating countermeasures to reduce the risk involved with distracted driving.

“Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know,” said GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha, who oversaw the report’s development. “Much of the research is incomplete or contradictory. Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it.”

Our Chicago car accident attorneys would like to share with you some of the hard facts associated with distracted driving:

-Distractions limit driving performance.

-Texting likely increases accident risk more than cell phone use.

-Drivers are distracted as much as half the time they spend behind the wheel.

-Drivers are able to adapt to some extent. They are able to pay more attention to driving and reduce their distracting activities when presented with a risky driving situation.

-Distractions are involved in traffic accidents an estimated 15 to 25 percent of the time.

-Cell phone use increases traffic accident risks.

This report asks that states implement the following countermeasures:

-Continue to leverage effective, low-cost roadway countermeasures like edgeline and centerline rumble strips. These features alert motorists when they are drifting out of their driving lane.

-Keep track of distracted driving influences in accident reports so that the information can be used to evaluate distracted driving laws and programs.

-Implement distracted driving communication programs.

-Monitor the impact of existing hand-held cell phone bans before looking into enacting new laws. A number of states that have yet to pass handheld bans should wait until more definitive research and data is available on the effectiveness of these laws.

-Look into other distracted driving laws and programs. Evaluation of these programs will provide the information that states can use to decide which countermeasures are effective and which are not.

-Create and enforce a texting ban for all drivers. Include a complete cell phone ban for novice drivers.

-Enforce all existing cell phone and texting laws.

-Assists employers in developing and enforcing distracted driving policies and programs.

“While distracted driving is an emotional issue that raises the ire of many on the road, states must take a research-based approach to addressing the problem. Until more research is conducted, states need to proceed thoughtfully, methodically and objectively,” says GHSA Harsha.

High-visibility enforcement for texting and hand-held cell phones is important in enforcing current laws. Enforcement efforts are an effective way to help change motorist behavior.

“Our report includes the preliminary results of these cell phone crackdowns, which have prompted dramatic declines in hand-held cell phone use and texting behind the wheel. The final results are expected shortly and should be considered as states move forward with education and enforcement initiatives,” says Harsha.

Continue reading "New Report Focuses on Causes of and Solutions to Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere " »