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Distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving

After years of awareness campaigns, most people understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol increases both your risk of a serious accident and your chances of getting arrested. Impaired driving can result in fatalities and serious injuries. So can distracted driving. Failing to pay attention to the road and the vehicle when you're in control of a machine that weighs hundreds of pounds and travels at high speeds is reckless. It's also incredibly common.

There are many forms of distraction, including:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting or checking social media or emails
  • Applying makeup
  • Adjusting clothing
  • Eating
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Changing the radio
  • Watching videos or reading

Although talking and texting are likely the most notorious distractions on this list, anything that takes your eyes and your mind off the road could result in an accident. If you get into an accident with a distracted driver, you can end up paying the price for that other person's negligence.

Car accidents can cause the kind of injuries that leave you unable to work, either while you recover or permanently, due to an acquired disability. Combine that with medical bills and the cost of repairing your vehicle, and an accident can quickly become a life-changing event.

Thousands of people die due to distracted drivers

In 2015, the most recent year with figures, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 3,477 people died as a result of distracted driving. That's nearly ten people a day! Studies show that distraction can create a similar level of impairment to intoxication, resulting in poorer decision making, slower reaction times, and missed visual information that could prevent the accident. Even people who limit their distractions to when their vehicle is stopped (like at a traffic light) can still pose a danger to others on the road. It takes time for your eyes and mind to refocus on the task at hand.

Illinois, like most other states, has laws in place to reduce distracted driving. Illinois police work hard to enforce these laws to reduce potential distracted driving crashes. Still, for many people, the temptation of distraction is just too much. These people choose to break the law and place others at higher risk of a crash for their own selfish purposes.

What to do after a crash with a distracted driver

There are steps to take after an accident that can protect your financial future, including contacting emergency services and documenting the scene of the crash. Make sure to mention what you saw that leads you to believe distraction was a factor.

When a distracted driver causes an accident, be sure to alert law enforcement immediately that you believe the other driver was distracted. They can check cellphone records or even intersection traffic cameras to verify if the other driver was using a phone, eating, or engaging in other dangerous driving behavior at the time of the crash.

The services of an experienced personal injury attorney can prove invaluable in obtaining compensation. Get legal advice as soon as possible after an accident.

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