Abels & Annes

Study Focuses on Countermeasures to Reduce Risks of Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Illinois and Elsewhere

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released a summary of the affects and consequences of distracted driving. The organization is giving the information to states, which are encouraged to make changes.

The information was taken from nearly 400 papers written between 2000 and 2011 about driver distraction. According to distraction.gov, more than 5,400 people were killed in 2009 because of car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere that involved a distracted driver. Approximately 448,000 people were injured because of these incidents.
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Out Chicago personal injury attorneys understand that distracting diving habits can oftentimes produce fatal consequences. Distractions affect a driver’s ability to react to road hazards and could be involved in as many as 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. The new report, “Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do.” aims to determine which countermeasures can be taken by state officials to help reduce the risks of these types of accidents.

The study was funded by a grant from State Farm. The report also illustrates exactly what distracted driving is, how a distraction can impact a driver’s abilities, how often motorists are distracted behind the wheel, and what the crash risks are for these types of accidents.

“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.

The distracted driving report made the following findings:

-Distractions significantly affect a driver’s performance.

-Drivers have been found to drive while distracted about half of the time they’re behind the wheel.

-Drivers have the ability to adapt. Drivers are able to focus more of their attention on driving and reduce the attention focused on a distraction in a risky driving scenario.

-Texting behind the wheel is much more dangerous that using a cell phone while driving.

States, according to the report, should consider the following countermeasures to combat the problem:

-Continue low-cost road measures, including centerline rumble strips. These strips alert drivers that a vehicle is drifting out of the lane.

-Consider enacting a texting ban for all drivers.

-Consider enacting a complete cell phone ban for all drivers. This ban is most effective when hands-free devices are included in the law.

-Keep a record of all distracted-driving accidents. This information will help officials to evaluate any current distracted driving laws or programs.

-Conduct research before enacting new distracted driving-related laws. Government officials should research areas in which the desired laws are already in effect to determine how they could potentially affect local traffic.

-Continue to enforce current distracted driving-related laws.

-Encourage all employers to create and enforce an anti-cell phone policy in the workplace. This is especially important for employees who drive on the job.

In the state of Illinois, all drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving through a school zone or in a highway construction zone. All school bus drivers and those who are under the age of 19 are also prohibited from using a cell phone while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. All drivers in the City of Chicago have been banned from using a hand held cell phone while driving. No driver is the state is allowed to text while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer you a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

More Blog Entries:

Windy City Drivers Among the Nation’s Worst — Chicago Car Accidents Often Result, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 12, 2011

As the School Year Begins, Officials Focus on Preventing Teen Car Accidents in Illinois, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 31, 2011