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Arlington Heights personal injury attorney car accident

Since cell phones became a part of our daily lives, distracted driving car accidents have skyrocketed. The numerous alerts, phone calls, and social media posts that we can scroll through and respond to have led many drivers to prioritize their notifications over their safety on the road. Many drivers may be willing to place themselves at risk to quickly respond to a text or answer a call, but they often forget that momentarily looking away from the road places other motorists at risk of injuries as well. For this reason, Illinois law enforcement has stiffened the penalties tied to distracted driving and one county has set up a special program to tackle this offense.

What Is Considered Distracted Driving?

There are three areas in which one can get distracted while driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. When you take your eyes off the road to grab something in your purse or send a quick text response, you are visually distracted. Manual distractions include anything that takes one or more hands off the steering wheel to perform an action, such as picking up a cup of coffee or your cell phone. Cognitive distractions occur when you are not paying attention to the road or what is going on around you. This may cause you to disregard the speed limit or fail to notice a car stopped right in front of you. Illinois stiffened its distracted driving penalties in 2019 by banning the use of handheld devices and labeling the penalty as a moving violation. These moving violations go on your record and just three in one year can lead to your driver’s license being suspended. This Illinois law prohibits the following:

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Schaumburg personal injury attorney auto accident

We all know the basic dos and don’ts of proper driving etiquette to avoid car accidents, even if a good amount of time has passed since we last took a driver’s education class. Common sense when it comes to rules of the road tell us not to drive while distracted or drowsy, not to drive aggressively, and not to drive while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. While these standards might seem obvious, there are other common traffic mishaps that we often fall victim to on a regular basis. Such poor driving habits can place us at significant risk for collisions and injuries, which makes the need for practicing defensive driving techniques critical each time we get behind the wheel in Illinois.

Poor Driving Behaviors to Watch for on the Roadway

Every state, including Illinois, has certain traffic laws that must be followed to maintain your driving privileges. However, not everyone obeys these rules, which can include making the following infractions:

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Schaumburg wrongful death attorney

There is no pain that can compare with losing a loved one forever. The death of a family member can leave some people uncertain of how to move forward. For those who lost loved ones to old age or a chronic illness, the pain is deep, but the underlying idea that this is part of the circle of life can act as a form of comfort to those who feel left behind. The loss of a family member or friend because of another person’s negligence can be nearly impossible to bear. You are likely wracked with anger and frustration, none of which can dull the immeasurable pain. In order to address such situations and hold people or companies accountable for their actions, Illinois law has recognized these tragedies and instilled legal consequences for those found guilty of wrongful death charges.

Holding Negligent Parties Responsible

If you have recently lost a loved one and you think someone may be to blame, you are likely wondering how you can hold that party accountable. The state of Illinois has named such tragedies “wrongful death.” If anyone loses their life as a result of another person’s wrongful act, neglect, or default, their death falls under this legal category. The person or company responsible for the death will be held liable through the payment of damages to the affected party. While financial compensation can never make up for the loss of a loved one, it is a way to hold the guilty party legally responsible. The negligent party will also have a felony charge added to his or her criminal record. Wrongful death can occur in a number of situations, with the most common being car accidents, medical malpractice, and unsafe workplaces.

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Schaumburg auto accident attorney

With mandatory stay-at-home orders in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, Illinois roads have been emptier over the past few months than they have been in a long time. Fewer commuters going to work and hardly any restaurants open for indoor seating have compelled many people to stay at home and off the roads. Surprisingly, despite the fewer number of cars seen on the streets, motor vehicle fatality rates have actually increased in the past few months. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), Illinois is one of the states that has seen this increased fatality rate, leaving a number of Illinois residents incurring serious to fatal injuries because of a car accident.

Looking at the Numbers

The United States as a whole saw a 14 percent increase in fatality rates per mile driven in March. This is especially surprising since most stay-at-home orders were at their strictest during this time as the coronavirus became identified as a rampant issue throughout the country. Illinois itself had an 11 percent increase in roadway deaths within the first three months of the year. One would think that fewer drivers on the road would result in a lower number of vehicle collisions, but the NSC president notes that many see these open roads as invitations for reckless driving. With fewer cars on the road, safety concerns have been disregarded by many motorists, leading to these increased statistics. Speeding has increased since the start of the pandemic, with the idea that fewer drivers mean typical speed limits are no longer necessary for safety.

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Schaumburg auto accident attorney aggressive driving

The issue of aggressive driving on our highways is certainly not a new issue, but as our nation experiences the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, aggressive driving of all kinds, especially speeding, has been reportedly on the rise from coast to coast. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that speeding alone – a major hallmark of aggressive behavior – caused over 9,000 car accident fatalities in 2018, and it continues to be one of the most dangerous behaviors people engage in while behind the wheel. 

Other aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving through traffic, and running red lights or stop signs, are also dangerous, and they can pose a great risk for motorists and pedestrians alike. Even something as simple as failing to yield the right of way is considered an aggressive driving act, and it is often a significant hazard on the highway. While you may not be able to completely avoid reckless drivers when you are out on the road, you can practice certain defensive techniques to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous encounter.

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