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Rolling Meadows car accident lawyersApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Illinois State Police Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation have partnered with local law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to curb cell phone use behind the wheel. While most people are aware that texting and driving is illegal, few realize just how severe an issue distracted driving has become. According to a recent study, distracted driving is a factor in over a million auto collisions each year. Using a cell phone while driving increases the chances of a crash by an astounding 400 percent.

Cell Phone Use While Driving is Dangerous and Unlawful

Although many drivers think nothing of reading or sending a message while driving, this practice leads to thousands of injury-causing and deadly car accidents every year. Some drivers justify cell phone use behind the wheel because they are only looking down at their cell phone for a few seconds at a time. However, a driver traveling at 55 mph who looks down for as few as five seconds travels over 400 feet without looking at the road. If a vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist appears in the driver’s path, he or she may not have enough time to avoid a collision.

Illinois has outlawed the use of hand-held phones and other portable electronic devices while driving. This includes texting and driving as well as video chatting, reading messages, using online maps, checking social media, or watching videos while driving. Hands-free cell phone use is permitted for drivers over the age of 18, however, drivers are encouraged to pull over if they need to make a call. A violation of Illinois’s texting and driving law that results in a serious injury is a Class A misdemeanor offense. Cell phone use while driving that causes another person’s death is a Class 4 felony.

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Cook County car accident injury attorneysWhen we think about car crash injury claims, most people picture broken bones and other physical injuries. However, not every injury that a car accident victim suffers is physical in nature. The emotional, mental, and psychological effects of a serious car accident can be profound. Many car accident victims are left with psychological symptoms that interfere with their ability to work and complete everyday responsibilities like maintaining their home or caring for children. If you have suffered psychological or mental health problems because of a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Conditions

Anyone who has been involved in a serious auto collision can tell you how terrifying the ordeal can be. The psychological effects of a car crash are often especially severe if the victim feared for his or her life or witnessed other victims’ deaths. Car crashes are the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD after a car crash is often characterized by:

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Arlington Heights personal injury attorneyThe winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to use the road, since there are a variety of factors that affect drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles safely. Snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, and other weather conditions can reduce traction on the road, making it more likely that drivers will lose control of their vehicles. Drivers’ visibility may also be limited in the winter, and this can occur during snowstorms or heavy rain, because of snow built up on a vehicle, or due to fogged windows. Shorter days during the winter also require many people to drive after dark, which will further limit visibility, making it more difficult for drivers to see obstacles in the road and respond to other vehicles or pedestrians. All of these factors can combine to increase the likelihood of car accidents. Those who have been involved in a collision will want to determine whether another driver’s negligence was to blame for the injuries and damages they have suffered.

Driver Negligence That Can Lead to Winter Car Accidents

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24% of all car accidents take place on roads that contain snow, ice, or slush. These accidents lead to nearly 120,000 injuries and 1,300 deaths every year. In addition, 15% of all accidents take place during snowfall or sleet, and these crashes result in 76,000 injuries and 900 deaths annually. Illinois is one of the most dangerous states for winter car accidents, with an average of 38 fatal collisions taking place during the winter each year.

Because of these dangers, drivers should take extra care to drive safely during the winter and avoid collisions. Some forms of driver negligence that can lead to winter car crashes include:

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Arlington Heights personal injury lawyersFor many drivers, sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be frightening. These vehicles are much larger and heavier than passenger cars and trucks, and a collision with a semi-trailer truck can result in devastating injuries. There are a variety of factors that can lead to truck accidents, but driver fatigue is one of the biggest concerns, since a truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel or attempts to operate a vehicle while drowsy can cause serious harm to other drivers, their passengers, or pedestrians. 

Increased Concerns About Truck Driver Fatigue

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many people to remain at home and avoid traveling, fewer people have been using the roads in Illinois and throughout the United States. However, this has also led to an increase in products being ordered online, which has resulted in additional trucks on the nation’s roads to ensure that cargo is shipped and delivered quickly. Due to a shortage in the number of truck drivers in the U.S., the increased need to deliver products means that fewer drivers are being required to drive more often, which may increase the chances that drivers will be pushing their limits and operating their vehicles when they are unable to do so safely.

The federal government has created regulations meant to prevent truck driver fatigue and ensure that drivers can remain awake and aware of the conditions on the road at all times. Under these hours-of-service regulations, truck drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 hours, and they cannot drive for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. Drivers must also take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours.

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Schaumburg DUI accident attorneysThe holiday season is a dangerous time on our nation’s roads due to increased amounts of drunk driving. This period typically starts with “Blackout Wednesday,” when many people drink large amounts of alcohol on the day before Thanksgiving. The rest of Thanksgiving weekend usually sees hundreds of fatalities in drunk driving accidents, and this trend generally continues in the weeks leading up to Christmas as people enjoy drinking with friends and family during holiday parties. Alcohol consumption is also prevalent on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and this often leads to another spike in traffic accidents and deaths. 

While this year’s holiday celebrations are likely to be smaller and more subdued than in years past for most families, there will still be too many people drinking and driving. Those who have been injured in accidents involving drunk drivers will want to understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.

Liability for Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents

In most car accident cases, victims will need to demonstrate that a driver acted negligently in order to collect compensation for their injuries and damages. In accidents involving a drunk driver, proving negligence is not difficult, since violating the law and driving while intoxicated is an act of negligence that puts others’ safety at risk. Victims may be covered by a drunk driver’s insurance policy, or they may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and seek to recover compensation for their damages, including medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

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