Just how dangerous is using a cellphone while driving? According to the Illinois State Police, your chances of getting into an accident increases by 400 percent when using a cellphone or smartphone behind the wheel.
In Illinois, cellphone use in the car is limited to hands-free use such as a Bluetooth headset, ear pieces or voice-activated commands for drivers age 19 and older. Texting and other smartphone functions are also prohibited. Despite the law, people continue to use their cellphones while driving every day.
How big is the problem?
Nationwide, distracted driving is involved in over one million accidents each year, causing injuries and fatalities. While cellphone use is what we tend to think of as distracted driving, there are many other causes as well:
- Talking on a cellphone or talking to passengers
- Using social media
- Using apps and GPS systems
- Taking photos
- Attending to children
- Adjusting the radio or heat/air conditioning controls
- Putting on makeup or shaving
These are just a few examples. Anything that takes your eyes off the road and/or hands off the steering wheel is a type of distracted driving.
When distracted drivers cause accidents
Just like drunk driving, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. If a distracted driver causes an accident, you can seek financial compensation for injuries and other losses. These cases can be complex, so it is a good idea to review your case with a personal injury lawyer. You may not fully understand your rights and options if you try to manage the case yourself.