Federal campaign launches www.distraction.gov aimed at reducing distracted driving car accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched a new website that will act as a national clearinghouse for information on distracted driving.

As we reported last month on Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, a patchwork of laws are springing up across the country, which ban cell phones, text messaging, and other poor driving habits, making it incumbent upon the motorist to know the law.

Drivers have been forbidden from using a cell phone in Chicago since 2005. And new laws took effect Jan. 1 in Illinois, outlawing text messaging by drivers or the use of cell phones in school zones and construction sites.

The site, www.distraction.gov, is the centerpiece of the government’s effort to increase public awareness of the dangers of serious and fatal car accident that result from driver distraction, including text messaging and cell phones.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 6,000 people a year die and more than half a million are injured in distracted-driving traffic accidents. Nationwide, 1 in 4 car accidents are blamed on some form of driver distraction.

Forms of distracted driving also include eating, drinking, talking with passengers and using other in-car technologies, like stereos and GPS devices.

Government data shows 11 percent of drivers killed in fatal crashes were distracted — up sharply from the 8 percent reported just 5 years ago.

At particular risk are young drivers under 20 (already at increased risk of a serious or fatal car accident). The government reported that 16 percent of fatal crashes involve young drivers who were distracted; drivers ages 20 to 29 had a rate of 12 percent.

The national campaign also includes television commercials features U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promoting the new website.

If you have been injured in an accident, the Chicago car accident lawyers and the personal injury 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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