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Winnebago County distracted driving accident attorneysHave you ever taken the time to look around at the other drivers while stuck in traffic? If so, you probably noticed that many of them were looking down at their smartphone. Whether it is electronic devices like cell phones, GPS units, and radios, or human distractions like children arguing in the backseat, distractions while driving are everywhere. Distracted driving has become a tremendous cause for concern in Illinois and throughout the United States. It is difficult to know for certain how many car accidents are caused by distracted drivers, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1,000 people are hurt in distracted driving accidents every day in the U.S. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident and you suspect distracted driving was a contributing factor, a personal injury attorney may help you recover compensation for your injuries..  

Establishing the Driver’s Negligence and Recovering Compensation

Car accidents involving distracted driving can often become “he said-she said” situations. Proving that the other driver’s irresponsible behavior caused your damages and recovering adequate compensation for those damages can be quite challenging. This is why many individuals hurt in distracted driving accidents get legal support from an experienced car accident injury attorney.

There are four main elements in a successful personal injury claim:

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Rockford distracted driving accident lawyerBy now, you have almost certainly heard the warnings about the dangers of texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AT&T, AAA, nonprofits, and other organizations have spent millions of dollars on campaigns to stop texting and driving. However, there are many other ways that drivers become dangerously distracted on the road, often leading to devastating accidents.

Children Can Be More Distracting Than Texting

If you have children, you probably spend a great deal of time transporting them to and from school, friends’ houses, and after-school activities. According to several studies, when your children are in the car, you may be driving while distracted. One study showed that children were twelve times more distracting to a driver than texting was. Research has also shown that parents with children in the car spend, on average, three minutes and twenty-two seconds with their eyes away from the road for every sixteen minutes they are diving.

Surprising Dangers on the Road

Distracted driving can also be caused when a driver attempts to multitask while driving. Many of us have extremely busy lives and often eat or drink while driving to save time. While the coffee and donut on the way to work may help you get your day started, experts believe that even this puts drivers at an increased risk of being in a car accident. A study conducted by Erie insurance found that smoking while driving is equally dangerous. Individuals who reach for a cigarette or go to light one take their eyes off the road for just a moment, but it only takes a moment to be involved in a crash.

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Winnebago County distracted driving accident lawyersBy now, most people have heard about the dangers of texting while driving or other types of distracted driving. However, studies show that a significant number of motorists are still dangerously distracted while operating a vehicle. In 2017, over 3,000 people nationwide lost their lives in accidents involving distracted drivers, and countless more were injured. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your damages.

Types of Distracted Driving

Although we often hear about the dangers of texting and driving, this is not the only form of distracted driving which causes serious auto accidents. Some motorists have actually admitted to checking social media or using other phone applications while driving too. GPS devices are also a major cause of distracted driving. However, electronic devices are not the only thing that takes our attention off of the road. Studies have shown that activities like eating, changing the radio station, searching through a purse or wallet, and smoking while driving also increase the chances of being involved in an injury-causing motor vehicle accident.

Perhaps the most under-recognized type of distracted driving occurs when a driver is distracted by his or her passengers. A study conducted by Monash University found that children are an astounding 12 times more distracting than cell phone use while driving. In fact, researchers found that parents take their eyes off the road for an average of over three minutes per every 16-minute trip.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysCell phone use—particularly texting while driving—has become a serious problem in America. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 1.2 million accidents are caused by texting and driving each year. Those numbers, however, may be far lower than the reality because the police rarely investigate to determine whether or not an accident was caused by cell phone use. However, skilled auto accident attorneys can help to uncover this information and may even be able to help their clients seek punitive damages for their injuries.

Why Texting and Driving Accidents Are So Serious

Studies that have been conducted on distracted drivers have suggested that cell phone use one of the most dangerous forms of distraction. In fact, one study found that, while the body tries to compensate for other forms of distraction through a flight or fight reaction, that same compensation is not present when using a cell phone and driving. This is because the brain relies heavily on hand-eye coordination to activate this defense mechanism, and texting takes that coordination away. As a result, the accidents that occur due to texting and driving often cause serious injuries.

Your Injuries and Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not often seen in auto accident cases. However, when a driver “willfully and wantonly” causes harm to another person, such as in accidents with drinking and driving or the use of a cell phone, victims may be due added punitive damages. Unfortunately, obtaining such damages is not an easy task. Knowledge of the law and of penal codes is required. This is why every victim who suspects that texting or talking on the phone while driving may have been a factor in their accident should seek skilled and experienced legal assistance.

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Winnebago County car accident lawyersThere is little argument against the fact that smartphones and other hand-held technology has dramatically changed Americans’ lives in the last few decades. We use our phones for everything from texting and calling to GPS navigation, social media, “Googling” information, and even streaming video. Unfortunately, some people choose to do these things while driving. Even though some mistakenly believe that they can “multitask” while driving, the reality is that doing anything other than driving while behind the wheel greatly decreases a person’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in car accidents caused by a distracted driver in 2015. During the same year, a shocking 391,000 people were injured in these types of accidents. A countless number of public service announcements and campaigns have attempted to decrease the number of people killed or injured by distracted driving incidents each. Many states have enacted laws to make using a cellphone while driving illegal or to require the use of hands-free devices. Unfortunately, some people continue to endanger others by using their phone at the wheel.

Cell Phones Are Not the Only Dangerous Distraction

The tricky thing about cell phone use legislation is that many everyday occurrences can be even more distracting while driving. For example, studies show that talking on a hands-free phone or through a Bluetooth connection may be just as distracting as using a handheld phone. In fact, the simple act of talking to another person inside the car can be distracting. Australian researchers found that the presence of children in a vehicle is 12 times more distracting to a driver than using a cell phone. Startlingly, the research also showed that people driving with children in the car take their eyes off of the road for more than three minutes of a 16-minute trip on average.

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