Oak Park is going beyond texting and driving, looking to ban all distracted driving behaviors – from eating to applying makeup while driving. “Research suggests that distracted drivers are involved in 80 percent of collisions or near-crashes, and governments big and small increasingly are addressing the concern by restricting cellphone use and other negligent conduct behind the wheel,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago personal injury attorneys know that distracted driving is a national issue. In the past two years alone, states enacting texting while driving laws have tripled to 34, including Illinois. Additionally, ten states plus the District of Columbia have made it illegal to use a hand held cell phone while driving. Chicago’s ban on hand held cell phone use has been in effect for six years (making calls with an earpiece of other hands-free device is permitted) and recently added a texting while driving ban.
And while the number of behaviors classified as “distracted driving” increase so, too, do the parameters on “driving.” The Chicago City Council recently proposed an ordinance that would ban texting while cycling.
While everyone agrees that distracted driving is a risk, there are some opponents of the ban, like Oak Park village trustee Ray Johnson who are concerned about how to define “distractions while driving.” Chicago personal injury attorneys know that the leading cause of “distracted driving” accidents tends to be cell phone use, including texting while driving. Mr. Johnson “said he was more cautious in considering tickets for eating or
applying makeup. Although he supports a texting ban, he said too many
things can distract a driver — changing a CD, reaching for a drink or
adjusting the volume on the radio — and designating a handful as illegal
would be difficult,” reports the Trib.
Additionally, it is difficult to compile statistics on the correlation between distracted driving behaviors and accidents. With cell phone use, there is a electronic data to determine if a driver was using their cell phone at the time of an accident. Not so with behaviors like applying makeup or eating.
If the Oak Park ban is enacted, it appears that it would be the first in the nation to outwardly ban eating while driving.
Our Chicago personal injury attorneys know that drivers are often busy, running late and engage in behaviors that qualify as “distracted driving” – even though they know better. For some drivers, a “close call” provides a necessary wake up call and prevents them from repeating the behavior in the future. Others may respond better to a ban with a hefty fine before they realize they may cause an accident with “distracted driving.”
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by another driver texting while driving or engaging in other “distracted driving” behaviors, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney right away.
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