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Put down the phone: The dangers of distracted driving

The temptation to look at the phone while driving is strong, and, for many Illinois drivers, it is impossible to overcome. Even just a passing glance at the screen or one moment to adjust a GPS device can have devastating consequences. Distracted driving is a serious problem, but what can be done about it?

Accidents caused by this type of dangerous behavior are on the rise, despite laws prohibiting the use of a phone while operating a vehicle. While distracted driving victims do have the legal right to hold liable parties accountable, many assume there is nothing they can do. If you are the victim of an accident related to distraction, do not give up on your case, but seek a full understanding of your legal options.

What is so dangerous about a phone?

When most people think of distracted driving, they think about cellphones. From texting and driving to checking Facebook, phones are certainly to blame for many of the dangerous behaviors that distracted drivers tend to display. The danger with cellphones does not lie with the actual phone, but with the person using it.

There are a few different types of distraction, all of them dangerous and unnecessary. These include the following:

  • Visual: This occurs when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for any reason, from looking at the phone to turning around to check on a child in the backseat.
  • Manual: This type of distraction occurs when a driver actually removes his or her hand from the steering wheel, whether it is to pick up the phone or adjust the radio.
  • Cognitive: Cognitive distraction is the result of a driver's mind being elsewhere. These drivers can still cause accidents with both hands on the wheel and eyes forward.

Phones tend to cause a combination of two or more types of distraction, making it especially dangerous for a driver to look at his or her phone. Other distracting behaviors that can lead to car accidents include eating or talking to a passenger.

What to do if distraction caused you harm

If a distracted driver caused you harm, it is critical to take quick action to protect your interests. It may seem like a long shot, but it is possible to hold these drivers accountable by building a strong personal injury claim. By collecting phone records, witness accounts and other types of evidence, your lawyer can help you seek the restitution you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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