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Many distracted drivers using GPS, surfing Web while behind the wheel

With the holidays just behind us, many drivers in Illinois and across the country are enjoying the new gadgets they received as presents. For many Americans, this will include a new cellphone, equipped with all of the currently popular features, including GPS technology and the ability to surf the Internet from any location. While these devices serve many purposes and have a wide array of benefits, when used inappropriately, they can also have disastrous consequences, including dangerous motor vehicle accidents.

Nevertheless, a new study from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers shows that a large number of Americans are almost always attached to their cellphones. According to the study, cellphones even accompany 70 percent of Americans to bed, as people ensure their phone is always within reach on a bedside table. In addition, 61 percent of Americans look at their cellphones at least one time every hour.

It comes as no surprise, then, that a whopping 90 percent of American drivers keep their phones in a location within arm’s reach while they are behind the wheel. Some of the most common locations include:

  • In the cup holder
  • On the passenger seat
  • In the driver’s hand or lap

Of course, when a driver keeps his or her cellphone in such close proximity, the temptation to use the phone is high. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ study found that the most common activity drivers engage in when using a cellphone behind the wheel is checking a navigation system. Of all the people who use their cellphones behind the wheel, 67 percent use the phone to access a GPS system. In addition, 33 percent of those using cellphones while driving search the Internet, while another 30 percent send text messages or emails.

The number of people continuing to engage in distracted driving is particularly concerning when considering the number of fatal distracted driving accidents that take place each year. In 2010, over 3,000 people died in such accidents, with another approximately 416,000 people sustaining personal injuries due to distracted drivers.

Illinois distracted driving accidents

As a result of the frequency with which distracted driving leads to serious car accidents, many states have implemented laws to curb this dangerous behavior. In Illinois, all motorists are prohibited from text messaging while behind the wheel. In addition, Illinois drivers are not allowed to use cellphones in any way when they are traveling in either a school or highway construction zone.

Stricter regulations are also in place for bus drivers and novice drivers in Illinois. Both types of motorists are prohibited from using cellphones of any type, including both handheld and hands-free technology, while behind the wheel. In Illinois, all drivers 19 years of age and below are considered novice drivers.

Despite these regulations, distracted driving accidents continue to occur in Illinois and across the country. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in such an accident, consulting with a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.


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