We’ve all been there. Sitting at a red light and looking to your left to find the person in the car next to you on their cell phone. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2014 distracted driving was responsible for over 3,000 deaths in the U.S., and every year that number only increases. Although texting is the action most associated with distracted driving, it can vary from grooming yourself, to eating and drinking.
Driving while distracted can be anything that pulls your attention away from your main task, which is maneuvering your car safely from Point A to Point B. It’s not just other cars on the road you have to watch for; there are pedestrians, bicyclists, and bystanders that are relying on the drivers of the road to abide by safe driving laws.
Illinois currently has a ban on handheld cellphones while driving, but that hasn’t made a large dent in Chicago fatalities due to distracted driving. Even when using a handsfree device you are not fully paying attention to the road in front of you. Your mind is distracted in the message or call that you are making and you’re not giving your full attention to what’s happening around you. This can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, car accidents.
The law also states that using your cellphone at a red light is against the law. You will have to be in park or neutral to be able to pull out your phone at a red light. The thinking behind this is that you are going to be thinking about that text well after the light turns green, if you even notice it turning green in the first place.
There have also been studies done that distracted driving is more than just holding your phone. A study done by Monash University states that having children in your car is actually more distracting than being on your cellphone. They found that if a mother goes on a 16 minute car ride she will take her eyes off of the road for at least 3 of those minutes. She may be checking on her kids, changing her mirrors to see them, or even passing back snacks or toys. In total, a parent spends more time checking on their kids than most people spend looking at their phone. A lot can happen during that time.
The best way to stop this from happening is to start educating drivers of the dangers in driving while distracted. Even picking up your phone at a stoplight can distract you for well past that light turning green. Reaching down to pick something up may be a fatal decision. When you are driving a car, every person on the road is putting their life in your hands.
If you’re ever in an accident and believe that another driver may be responsible because of distracted driving, contact Harvey Walner today.