As personal injury attorneys in O’Fallon, IL, we can’t help but notice that a lot of the news coverage of distracted driving focuses on cellphones. And for good reason; distracted driving has become much more common since almost everyone started carrying phones. But practically since the automobile was invented, drivers have gotten into accidents because they failed to focus on the road.
Other forms of distracted driving
While talking, texting and using apps and driving at the same time causes thousands of serious car accidents in the U.S. every year, mobile phones are not the only way motorists distract themselves. Other forms of driver distraction include:
• Eating or drinking
• Changing the radio station, CD or mp3 playing
• Putting on makeup or brushing hair
• Changing clothes
• Dealing with a child or infant
• Talking to passengers
Anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or both, is a distraction. Even a brief distraction can lead to danger. Two seconds of distracted driving doubles the chances of a car accident, according to AAA. Looking away from the road for five seconds is the equivalent of driving across a football field wearing a blindfold. And once a driver stops being distracted, the mental effects can last up to 27 seconds.
Distracted driving and the law
Illinois law prohibits the use of handheld cellphones and other devices while driving. Hands-free use of cellphones is restricted to drivers age 19 and above. But as we have shown, this law does not ban all types of distracted driving. Besides, the police often cannot catch distracted drivers using their phones until they have already injured innocent people.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence under state law. Victims of a negligent driver have the right to pursue compensation from that person for things like lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Litigation cannot undo the injuries you have suffered, but they can help you set things right financially.