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Wrongful Death Lawyer in Chicago Examines Distracted Driving

Unfortunately, wrongful death lawyers in Chicago, IL see some of the most serious consequences of distracted driving. While some people still take the chance of texting while driving, responsible drivers understand this behavior is extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, many of these same individuals are faced with multiple distractions every time they get behind the wheel.

While you may not consider eating a breakfast sandwich while you gulp down your coffee being distracted, these activities will affect your driving. Lighting up a cigarette, changing the radio station, answering your phone via your hands-free device, or adjusting your GPS are examples of performing a secondary activity to driving.

Distracted Driving is Dangerous

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributed over 3,000 traffic deaths to accidents caused by distracted drivers. Furthermore, approximately 20% of all traffic accidents are caused by distracted driving.

It’s almost second nature for drivers to converse with their passengers, utilize their hands-free devices, or sip on a water bottle while simultaneously driving. However, where on-board cameras and data recording equipment has been available, data has shown little difference between the mode of distraction in the upwards of 25% of crashes and near-accidents occurring when the driver is distracted by any secondary task.

Understanding Why Distraction is a Problem

Although teen drivers are more likely to succumb to distractions while driving than other age groups, they are not the only ones. They do have a higher chance of becoming involved in an accident, but that is also due to their lack of driving experience.

On the other hand, those who have been driving for many years often become so used to driving, they tend to take it for granted. Driving is an inherently complex task that requires several processes to occur simultaneously – manual dexterity (utilizing both hands as well as your feet), visual contact to assess your surroundings, and cognitive function necessary to process all the information so you are able to instinctively take any necessary action as it arises.

If any one of these processes is interrupted, it distracts us from our primary task. When the primary task is driving, a visual distraction will make us take our eyes off the road. This can happen when we glance at our GPS, check on our child in the back seat, or look to see if our cup of coffee is sitting correctly in the cup holder. A manual distraction occurs when we take our hand (or hands) off the wheel for any reason.

Lastly, a cognitive distraction, the most subtle type of diversion, is anything that diverts even a portion of our attention away from the task of driving. Having an emotional conversation with another passenger or someone on the phone (even hands-free), worrying about being late for that next appointment, or thinking about whether or not what you’re wearing is appropriate are all examples of cognitive distraction.

Why Texting is Especially Dangerous

Because texting merges all three types of distraction, it is particularly dangerous. Picking up the phone and scrolling and/or typing creates a manual distraction, reading the text or even glancing at the send button becomes a visual distraction, and thinking about the conversation creates a cognitive distraction.

This is why texting and driving has become the most popular example of distracted driving, and why it is universally considered to be extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that all types of distractions increase the likelihood of being involved in a crash. Our legal team in Chicago has seen a number of serious injuries and wrongful deaths related to vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers, so we understand how dangerous it is.

Consider that when you take your eyes off of the road for a mere two seconds, for any reason, your vehicle will cover 102 feet during that time – if you are traveling at 70 miles per hour. If the car in front of you slows or stops unexpectedly, there is a good chance you will end up rear-ending that car.

Of course, no one is perfect, and we are all guilty of becoming distracted now and again. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that anything that diverts your attention, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time, increases the risk of becoming involved in an accident – and multiple, simultaneous distractions exponentially increase that risk.

Wrongful Death Attorney in Chicago

Despite constant efforts to curb texting and driving, many drivers unfortunately continue to disregard the warnings. Other drivers never text and drive, but think nothing of attempting to eat a meal while talking on the phone as they head down the highway. Unfortunately, many of these drivers cause serious accidents that result in life-altering injury or death.

If you have been seriously injured, or you have lost someone you love due to an accident caused by a distracted driver, reach out to our knowledgeable legal team at Zimmerman Law Offices for a free case evaluation.


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