Chicago car accidents a serious threat to teen safety as new study highlights dangers of distracted driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation is teaming up with Consumer Reports to warn parents and teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers urge parents to have a serious talk with their teens as spring approaches. With spring break, prom and graduation, teens will have plenty of chances to be out late on the road and may face peer pressure when it comes to underage drinking, drinking and driving and drug consumption.In short, the next few months are among the most dangerous when it comes to the risk of Chicago car accidents involving teenagers.

“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Behind the statistics are real families who have been devastated by these tragedies. We’re pleased to be working with Consumer Reports to raise awareness and help communities fight this problem.”

A free guide of “Distracted Driving Shatters Lives” is being made available at the Department of Transportation’s website as well as the website for Consumer Reports. The National School Safety Coalition is also distributing copies to schools and volunteer groups.

A public service announcement is set to begin airing on television nationwide and a Consumer Reports video will air in retail stores in April.

“It only takes a moment of distraction to cause a tragedy. No text or call is worth a life,” said Jim Guest, the president of Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports. “We know that educating people about the risk of distracted driving works. This partnership is devoted to spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving and specific steps you can take to make a difference.”

A new survey by Consumer Reports highlights the dangers faced by young drivers:

-Two thirds of those under the age of 30 reported using a hand-held phone while driving at some point during the last month; one-third of them admitted to text messaging.

-Only about one-third of those under the age of 30 said they were very concerned about distracted driving. About the same number felt it was dangerous to use a hand-held phone while behind the wheel.

-Two-thirds reported seeing another driver texting using a hand-held phone within the last month.

-Nearly all young drivers had seen another driver talking on the phone in the past month and more than half had seen a dangerous situation related to distracted driving.

-Four out of five said they had reduced or stopped distracted-driving behavior. Two-thirds said they did so after hearing about the dangers.

Parents can assist teens in making good driving decisions by:

-Establishing ground rules forbidding texting or the use of cell phones while driving.

-Talking about the dangers with family and friends.

-Setting a good example by not using a phone while driving.

-Talking to teens about the risks and responsibilities of driving.

-Having your child sign a pledge not to use a cell phone while driving and agreeing on the penalties for violating the pledge.

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

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