Campaign aims to reduce Chicago car accidents, distracted driving crashes statewide

Illinois authorities are launching a new campaign, “Drive Now. Text Later,” aimed at reducing the risk of distracted car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys frequently post on the dangers of distracted driving, both here and on our sister site, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog. As we reported last January, Illinois’ texting law went into effect Jan. 1, 2010, making it illegal to text while driving. The law also prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones in school zones and construction sites.Hand-held cell phone use by drivers has been prohibited within the City of Chicago since 2005. Nationwide, an estimated 5,000 motorists are killed and 500,000 are injured each year in accidents caused by distracted driving.

However, a recent online survey indicated 4 in 10 tollway customers did not know that it is illegal to text or e-mail while driving. The new campaign is being launched by the Illinois Department of Transportation in conjunction with Illinois State Police, The Illinois Secretary of State and AAA Chicago.

“We were surprised to learn that so many of our customers were simply not aware that texting while driving is illegal in Illinois,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “This campaign is intended to remind us of the potentially deadly consequences that go along with texting while driving. Our customers need to focus on safe driving and remember that they can’t do both.”

The campaign will include posters on tollbooths, as well as at rest stops, driver’s license facilities and elsewhere. Television and radio announcements are also planned along with bumper stickers and road-side message boards.

“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious issue in our state and in the nation,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “That’s why in 2009 we initiated the no texting while driving law in Illinois. No driver has any business text messaging while they are driving. Additionally, we initiated the ban on talking on cell phones in school zones and construction zones. By working together, we can educate the public on these life-saving laws and make the roads in Illinois the safest ever.”

You can visit the website for “Drive Now. Text Later” TV and radio announcements, the campaign logo and posters.

If you have been injured in a Chicago auto accident, call Abels & Annes for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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