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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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Schaumburg personal injury attorney car accident

In Illinois, you have likely seen the phrase “Click It or Ticket” posted above major highways or on the side of busy roads, warning about the potential legal consequences for failure to wear a seat belt. Because of the devices’ proven safety benefits, the state of Illinois requires all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts at all times. This includes those riding in cars that are equipped with airbags. This law became effective in July 1985 to address the low number of drivers and passengers wearing seat belts while riding in cars. Since the installation of this legislation, seat belt usage has skyrocketed, increasing from 15.9 percent in 1985 to 93 percent usage rates in 2016. Despite the vast majority of drivers and passengers following Illinois’ seat belt requirements, there are some who continue to refuse to use the additional safety measures. Those who decide against wearing a seat belt and get involved in a car accident can face more severe injuries than those wearing seat belts, but surprisingly, Illinois does not recognize this decision as a form of negligence.

Can This Be Used as Evidence?

If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, you are able to file a personal injury claim to recover financial compensation for your losses. These injuries can lead to steep medical bills, time off work, and ongoing conditions that affect your daily functioning. Personal injury claims are meant to make up, in part, for these damages from which you or your loved one is suffering. When filing a personal injury claim, an attorney will work with you to obtain details about the accident. He or she will analyze what happened and determine who was negligent, or at fault, for the accident. A number of factors can contribute to this determination of negligence, such as whether or not the drivers were texting or otherwise distracted, if either party was speeding, if both parties used proper turn signals, if either driver was fatigued, and more.

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Schaumburg personal injury attorney nighttime car accident

According to studies by the National Safety Council (NSC), despite the fact that nighttime driving represents only a quarter of all driving activity, 50 percent of all traffic fatalities occur at night, and safety behind the wheel during the twilight hours should be a crucial priority for all drivers. The chances of being involved in car accidents with injuries at night are significantly higher than at other times of day. This can be due to a number of factors, such as fatigued or intoxicated drivers. If you have been involved in a collision that was caused by another driver's negligent driving at night, you should work with a personal injury attorney to determine your options for recovering financial compensation for your damages.

What You Can Do to Decrease Your Chances of Injury

While driving at night may be more dangerous than driving during the daylight hours, there are a number of ways motorists can decrease the likelihood of being involved in a collision. Drawing on compiled report data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the NSC recommends that drivers practice the following precautions when operating their vehicles at night:

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