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Cellphone-Related Car Accidents Still Happen in Illinois Despite Ban

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DuPage County car accident lawyer, distracted driving, cell phone use, car accident, car accident claimsDrivers in DuPage County and throughout Illinois are banned from using handheld electronic communication devices on the road (625 ILCS 5/12-610.2). However, a study conducted earlier this year suggests that a large percentage of Illinois car accidents continue to happen as a result of distracted driving and cellphones use. 

To be sure, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, about 25 percent of drivers involved in a crash were on their phones immediately before the collision occurred. In other words, drivers are breaking the law concerning handheld cellphone use, and they may be causing traffic accidents.

Understanding Illinois Cellphone Ban

Under Illinois law, a driver is prohibited from using a handheld electronic device behind the wheel, including cellphones, iPads, and laptops. The ban is designed primarily to prevent distracted driving, which is often caused by talking, texting, or surfing the internet on a smartphone.

The penalties for violating the law are as follows:

  • First offense: maximum fine of $75;
  • Second offense: maximum fine of $100;
  • Third offense: maximum fine of $125;
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses: maximum fine of $150; and

When a person operates a motor vehicle while using a handheld electronic device and the violation results in an accident that causes “great bodily harm, permanent disability, disfigurement, or death to another,” then that individual can be convicted of aggravated use of an electronic communication device. This offense comes with much stricter penalties.

Drivers Continue to Use Handheld Devices in DuPage County

Despite the ban on handheld electronic communication devices, drivers continue to hold smartphones for talking and texting. In a study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which is reported in the Chicago Tribune article, the researchers learned that “distracted driving occurred in 52 percent of trips that ended in a crash” in Chicagoland. In about 25 percent of all collisions, as mentioned, a driver had just been talking on a cellphone.

According to the study, the worst spots for distracted driving accidents were:

  • Drop-off spots at O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport;
  • Stretch on Solidarity Drive between the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium;
  • Lake Shore Drive; and
  • King Drive and the Stevenson Expressway.

Of course, distracted driving accidents occur throughout Chicagoland, and the suburbs in DuPage County are not immune. The problem, the article suggests, is that there are not enough law enforcement officials to catch drivers who are on their phones. As such, the handheld cellphone ban simply is not that effective in preventing distracted driving accidents caused by smartphone use.

What can we do? The article recommends making more use of safe driving apps that lock smartphone when the car reaches certain speeds. But drivers have to make the choice to be safe on the road. When they do make such a decision, accidents happen less frequently. For example, when drivers download the “DriveWell” app (an example of the type of apps we mentioned above), their cellphone use behind the wheel dropped by about 35 percent within a month.

Contact a DuPage County Auto Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, you should learn more from a DuPage County car accident lawyer about filing a claim. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC for more information.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-distracted-driving-study-20170403-story.html

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