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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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