Distracted Driving Leads to Increased Risk of Car Accidents

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Arlington Heights distracted driving accident lawyerThe dangers of distracted driving are well-known in the United States, but even though many states have passed laws against texting or using a cell phone while driving, people across the country continue to put themselves and others at risk. The statistics are sobering; in 2016, 3,450 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted driving, making a total of 9.2% of all car crash fatalities. Every day, at least eight people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in these types of accidents. Yet despite the obvious danger of distracted driving, studies have shown that approximately 660,000 people use cell phones or electronic devices while driving on a daily basis.

The Risks of Distracted Driving

Modern cell phones are powerful computers that provide their users with the ability to easily look up information and communicate with others, and the ease of using these devices makes it tempting for people to do so while they are behind the wheel. While some people may believe that they are able to multitask and use a cell phone or complete other activities while driving, these types of distractions cause extreme danger to everyone who uses the road.

Use of electronic devices while driving is especially dangerous because it causes three separate types of distractions:

  1. 1. Visual distractions, in which drivers take their eyes off the road and are not aware of what is happening around their car.
  2. 2. Manual distractions, in which drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and are not in full control of their vehicle.
  3. 3. Cognitive distractions, in which drivers take their attention off their surroundings and are unable to quickly react to changing traffic conditions or hazards.

If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour, and they take their attention off the road for five seconds to read or send a text message, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed. 

Keeping one’s full attention on the road is incredibly important, but many drivers fail to do so. Distracted driving extends beyond the use of electronic devices; many drivers are distracted by adjusting their radio or environmental controls, eating and drinking, grooming, or communicating with passengers.

Contact a Schaumburg Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorney

Drivers who use cell phones or otherwise take their attention off the road while driving put themselves and everyone around them in danger. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident that was caused by distracted driving, the skilled attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered. Contact our Barrington personal injury attorneys today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


The Dangers of Hands Free Cell Phone Use While Driving

Web Admin - Friday, November 28, 2014

hands free device danger, Illinois personal injury lawyerEveryone knows they should avoid texting and driving. Focusing on a smartphone screen rather than the road is a recipe for disaster, and may lead to serious accidents. This common sense principle has led Illinois to pass a law forcing drivers to only use hands free devices when they are driving. However, even though hands free cell phone use lets people keep their eyes on the road, it still does not entirely remove the distraction of speaking on the phone. Additionally, the use of hands free technology may also bring a curious piece of human psychology known as the Peltzman effect into play.

Hands Free Device Statistics

Hands free driving seems like it should make people safer, but some studies show it may actually pose even more risks. Either way, the statistics show that it can still be dangerous. For instance, even though only nine percent of drivers are using phones at any given time, these drivers are involved in 26 percent of all crashes. This is because 90 percent of crashes involve driver error rather than the environment or mechanical failures.

A lot of the problems caused by phones are a function of how the brain processes information. Although many people believe they are capable of multitasking, that is actually an illusion. The brain cannot actually perform multiple tasks at one time. Instead, the brain switches rapidly back and forth between the two tasks, but it does not do it perfectly. This means that the brain's visual processing can be reduced by up to 33 percent while on the phone. This can lead to people missing half of everything going on around them while they talk. However, that failure to multitask is not the only human mental quirk that affects this scenario.

The Peltzman Effect

People using hands free technology may also be falling victim to what economists refer to as the Peltzman effect. The Peltzman effect, which was originally identified by its namesake in the 70s, relates to the fact that people generally have a reasonably constant amount of risk they are willing to take. This can result in regulations that are designed to keep people safe actually having a diminished effect because people are then more willing to take other risks. For instance, people may feel safer when using hands free technology, so they may be more willing to drive faster or pay less attention to the road. Importantly, economists still debate how much extra risk the Peltzman effect actually encourages people to take. Although numerous studies have found evidence of its existence, the magnitude of its impact varies greatly between each study.

Distracted driving is dangerous, regardless of the distraction. If you have recently been injured by the carelessness of a distracted driver, contact a Crystal Lake personal injury attorney today. Our firm helps injured victims across the northwest suburbs in towns like Palatine, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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