Distracted Driving Is One of Illinois’ Leading Causes of Auto Accidents
A recent study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed that over 600,000 drivers across the country use their cell phones while driving. This type of reckless behavior leads to injury or even death of those involved in a car accident with the distracted driver.
In an effort to lower the collision rate in Illinois, the state amended the vehicle code on July 1, 2019, to consider a first offense of distracted driving as a moving violation. Previously, the law stated that only subsequent offenses would be moving violations that would appear on a driver’s record.
Collisions that happen as a result of cell phone usage will also see the distracted driver responsible for any compensation for victim injury or wrongful death.
What is Distracted Driving?
Any action that takes focus away from the road for even a split second is considered “distracted driving.” Cell phone usage is the most common distraction, but other distractions that are frowned upon include eating, putting on clothes or makeup, and talking to passengers.
The amended bill covers only the usage of electronic devices including:
- Cell phones;
- Hand-held digital assistant devices; and
- Portable computers.
Systems that are integrated into the car are not included and can be used so long as the driver is not holding a device to control the system.
Any violation of the new law will be a moving violation, and the offender will also face a fine that increases with every violation: $75 for the first time, $100 for a second time, $125 for a third time, and $150 for subsequent offenses. Any accident which occurs as a result of distracted driving will see the offender charged with a Class A misdemeanor if an injury occurred and a Class 4 felony if a victim was killed.
There are some exceptions to the law, but they are mostly for emergency and police vehicles. Those who are reporting an accident or violation will also not be fined since they are performing a civic duty.
What to Do When Injured in a Car Accident
All victims of car accidents involving a distracted driver are eligible for compensation. They must first collect evidence of the collision, such as:
- Photos of the damages or injuries;
- A doctor’s diagnosis; and
- A full police report.
Then, they have two years to file for compensation before the statute of limitations runs out.
Illinois does not have a limit to the amount of compensation that can be collected by a car accident victim or the families of someone wrongfully killed in a car accident.
Contact an Orland Park, IL, Personal Injury Lawyer
The financial burden that a victim faces after a car accident can be more painful than their physical injuries. The lawyers of Schwartz Injury Law can assist any victim in receiving the compensation they desire to alleviate stress while recovering from injury. To schedule a free consultation with a DuPage County personal injury lawyer, call our office at 708-226-9000.