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The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Person using cell phone while driving.

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of auto accidents. The facts and statistics about the dangers of distracted driving are staggering.

The following are some of the key facts and statistics highlighting the dangers of distracted driving, as provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in car crashes involving a distracted driver.

  • In 2010, an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

  • 18% of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-related car crashes.

  • Distracted driving contributed to 11% of all fatal car accidents involving drivers under the age of 20.

  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.

  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into car crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

  • Text messaging increases the risk of an auto accident by 23 times.

  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.

  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.

  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity focused on driving by 37%.

Illinois Laws to Combat Distracted Driving

Earlier this year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law three new bills to combat distracted driving. One law bans commercial drivers from texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving; another prohibits use of cell phones within 500 feet of an emergency scene; and another prohibits the use of cell phones in all roadway work zones, not just those with reduced speed limits

Currently, Illinois and Chicago laws and ordinances prohibit the following use of electronic devices while driving:

  • Drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from using wireless phones (with or without hands-free devices) while driving.

  • All drivers are prohibited from text messaging, emailing, and using the Internet while driving.

  • Drivers are prohibited from using cellular phones in school speed zones and construction/road maintenance zones.

  • In Chicago, all drivers talking on mobile phones must use hands-free devices.

  • At least 10 other municipalities, including Highland Park, Winnetka, Evanston and Deerfield, have their own handheld cell phone laws.

Evanston is considering taking a more stringent stance on cell phone use while driving by considering a ban on all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free devices, according to the Chicago Tribune. If approved, Evanston's ban would be among the strictest laws in the country on cell phone while driving.

As we earlier reported, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a nationwide ban on texting and making phone calls while driving.  The NTSB's recommendation specifically asks all 50 states and Washington D.C. to ban all nonemergency use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices for all drivers.

Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving can be incredibly dangerous, causing auto accidents and trucking accidents.  In 2009, nearly 5,500 fatalities and 500,000 injuries resulted from crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the NHTSA.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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