In the state of Illinois, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone at the wheel. In Chicago, all drivers are prohibited from using a hand held cell phone behind the wheel. In the state, all drivers are prohibited from texting, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Although teenagers may not be allowed to text at the wheel in the state, it doesn’t mean they’re all listening. Teenage drivers are more likely that any other age group to send and receive texts while driving. For this reason, among many others, car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere are the number one cause of death for teens in the U.S. To help raise awareness about the danger and risks associated with texting while driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has launched its “OMG” public service announcement campaign.
Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that teenagers already face increased risks for a traffic accident. But adding in the distraction of a text messaging devices makes these risks even higher. The USDOT launched its new campaign to reach these drivers and to urge them to put down the phones while they’re behind the wheel. In 2010, there were nearly 3,100 fatalities resulting from distraction-related car accidents.
“Teen drivers are particularly vulnerable to distracted driving, which is why we are making an extra effort to ensure they understand the dangers,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
There are two PSAs for this campaign. They will be airing on 12,000 gas station pump-top screens, at more than 525 Regal Cinema theaters on more than 6,500 movie screens and on Distraction.gov through December.
The campaign uses some of the shorthand texting lingo that these young drivers use everyday, like “L8R” and “LOL.”
Nathan Gill at Outcast’s PumpTop TV says that airing these PSAs at gas stations is a good way to spread the word to this on-the-go age group. Those five minutes that these teens spend at the gas pumps watching these PSAs can help to save lives.
Currently, there are 35 states, Guam and the District of Columbia that have prohibited text messaging by drivers. Another nine states have made it illegal drivers to talk on a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel.
It’s no secret than teens want to stay connected with their buddies. When schools let out for winter break, teenagers will be hitting the roads in route to holiday gatherings with friends and family members. Before setting out, parents are asked to talk with their teens about the dangers, risks and consequences of distracted driving. Let’s keep our teens driving safely through the holidays and well beyond.
If you or your teen driver has been involved in a car crash, the Chicago injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential consultations. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
MADD Teams Up With NFL to Reduce Risks of Teen Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, December 7, 2011
Teen Allegedly Causes Five-Car Accident in Chicago and Flees Scene, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2011