Understanding Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois
Automobile Accidents - November 3, 2020
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. There is no other way to describe distracted driving behaviors. Anytime a person takes their focus off of the roadway, the chances of a severe accident occurring increase significantly. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our car accident lawyers know that it is important to understand Illinois’ distracted driving laws. Far too often, we have to assist clients who have sustained severe injuries as a result of distracted driving behavior. Here, we want to pass along valuable information that could save lives and reduce injuries on the roadway.
What is Distracted Driving?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that distracted driving is “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” The CDC goes on to state that there are various types of distracted driving. This can include:
- Visual. This includes any activity that takes your eyes off the road.
- Manual. This includes any activity that takes your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive. This includes any activity that takes your mind off of driving.
Distracted driving can take many forms, including:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Sending or receiving text messages
- Browsing social media
- Taking selfies or other photographs
- Talking to others in the vehicle
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Reaching for objects in the vehicle
- Using a navigation system
In some cases, distracted driving does not actually have to involve you “doing” anything. Sometimes, if you take your mind off of driving and focus on something else, you can become distracted even though you may be looking at the roadway and have your hands on the wheel.
Does Illinois Have Laws on Distracted Driving?
In Illinois, the law prohibits the use of handheld mobile devices. This includes holding a phone and talking, texting, or using other electronic communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Illinois law does allow for hands-free devices or Bluetooth technology for those who are aged 19 and older.
The only time that Illinois law allows drivers to use a handheld mobile phone that is not hands-free is if:
- An emergency situation needs to be reported.
- A car is parked on the shoulder of the roadway.
- A vehicle stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed, and the vehicle is in park or neutral.
What to Do if You See Distracted Driving Taking Place?
If you see distracted driving taking place on the roadways in Illinois, the best thing for you to do is to practice defensive driving tactics. In other words, you need to take steps to ensure your safety before you do anything else. This means getting your vehicle away from a distracted driver, if possible. This could include slowing down, changing lanes, or even pulling to the side of the road to let it distracted driver get away from you.
If the actions of a distracted driver are creating a serious safety risk for yourself and others on the roadway, you may need to call 911 to report the incident. Try to get the license plate of the vehicle in question as well as the make, model, and color of the vehicle so that you can tell the 911 dispatcher the correct information. If possible, you should pull to the side of the road before calling 911 and try to remember the direction the distracted driver was heading when you make your report.
Again, you need to make sure that you and your passengers are safe first. Only then should you consider reporting the distracted driving to the appropriate authorities. Under no circumstances should you engage a distracted driver by telling them to put their phone down or to pay attention to the roadway. This could escalate the situation into a road rage incident.
Compensation After a Distracted Driving Crash
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. In these cases, you should seek assistance from a skilled Illinois car accident lawyer who can fully investigate the situation. Proving liability in these cases often means proving that the alleged at-fault driver was indeed distracted at the time the incident occurred. This may require statements from eyewitnesses, cell phone data records, video surveillance of the incident, and more.
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our distracted driving accident lawyers are regularly able to help clients recover the following types of compensation in these incidents:
- Full compensation for medical bills
- Lost income if a victim cannot work
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering losses
- Compensation for loss of quality of life
- Property damage costs
The total amount of compensation available in a distracted driving accident case will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular situation.
Time Limit to File a Distracted Driving Accident Claim
Victims of distracted driving crashes have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the incident. The Illinois personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurs. This means that a distracted driving accident victim has a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe could result in the victim being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a distracted driver on Illinois roadways, contact the team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates for help with your case today. Our qualified and experienced personal injury lawyers will investigate every aspect of your claim so we can obtain the compensation you need. We are not afraid to stand up to aggressive insurance carriers or at-fault parties in these cases. Our team has the resources necessary to conduct a full investigation into your claim to ensure you are properly cared for. When you need an Illinois distracted driving accident attorney, please call our office at (815) 723-8822. You can also call our toll free number at (800) 985-1819.