When people consider the causes of wrongful death in Chicago and across the nation, they think of the obvious – drunk driving, medical malpractice, accidents in the workplace, etc. Many people do not realize that Illinois wrongful death statistics also include distracted driving. Distracted driving includes many different activities (eating, drinking, even applying makeup while driving) but most prevalent is cell phone use (talking, texting, even internet use).

So, what are the Illinois texting while driving law and other distracted driving laws? According to the Governors Highway Safety Association:
– All drivers are prohibited from using an electronic communication device to compose, send or read an electronic message.
– A driver may not use a wireless telephone for any purpose while driving through a school zone or in a highway construction or maintenance speed zone.
– Drivers under the age of 19 and school bus drivers are banned from cellular phone use while operating a vehicle.
– There is not, to date, any legislation relating to other types of distracted driving.

While it is not currently against the law to use a celluar phone in most instances, cell phone use and other distracted driving habits are major contributers to wrongful death in Chicago and the rest of the nation. In fact, cell phones cause over 2,000 automobile deaths per year and that number is expected to grow with the increase in “smart phone” use. Illinois texting while driving law is clear on the fact that this practice is dangerous and illegal. But just because talking on a cell phone is not illegal does not mean it is a good idea. In fact, recent studies show that drivers’ reaction time is severely impaired by cell phone use and there is little difference between handheld or hands free use.

Before you decide to use your cellular phone while driving, keep in mind the Illinois wrongful death statistics above. There are few phone calls that are so important they cannot wait until you are not driving. If you must make a phone call, it makes sense to pull over. If this is impossible, at least keep your call brief so you can quickly return your full attention to the road.