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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic in Illinois and across the United States, according to several studies. To raise public awareness on this issue, the National Safety Council has named April Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

A report by AT&T found that 70 percent of drivers use their smartphones in some way while behind the wheel. Of those, almost 40 percent use their phones to access social media, nearly 30 percent browse the internet and 10 percent video chat. Meanwhile, a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers between the ages 19 and 24 are the most reckless, with 88 percent engaging in one or more risky behaviors while on the road.

Distracted driving injures up to 600,000 people each year, which is twice the number of people injured by drunk driving. Tragically, distracted driving kills between 4,000 and 6,000 people annually. Safety experts hope public awareness campaigns and stronger state laws can alert motorists to the dangers of distracted driving and convince them to turn off their smartphones when they get in the car.

Drivers have a duty to pay attention while on the road in order to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If it can be determined a car crash was caused by a distracted driver, injured victims may wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses. An attorney representing a plaintiff might want to obtain a subpoena from the court ordering the motorist's cellphone provider to produce records of usage around the time of the accident.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Habit Of Distracted Driving: It Only Takes A Glance", Sue Scheff, March 31, 2017

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