Many people may believe that texting while driving is harmless, but Chicago-area parents should be aware of the fact that they are most likely passing on this bad habit to their children. Even long before children are old enough to get behind the wheel, they are watching their parents’ driving habits — and will most likely emulate the behaviors, good or bad.
According to a survey conducted by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions, 59 percent of teenagers report that they have seen their parents text while driving. In addition, the teens reported to seeing their parents engaging in other dangerous behaviors when behind the wheel, including speeding (88 percent), talking on a cellphone (91 percent), not wearing a seatbelt (47 percent) and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (27 percent).
Not surprisingly, a number of teens reported to engaging in the same behaviors that they observed. The survey found that 90 percent of teens admitted to talking on their cellphones while driving, 80 percent say that they read and send text messages while driving and 94 percent of teens surveyed speed on the roads at least some of the time. In addition, many teens also reported that they have driven while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and driven without wearing a seatbelt.
Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois
There are a number of laws that have been passed by the Illinois State Legislature in order to keep motorists safe and protect them against distracted drivers. Under the state law:
- Commercial drivers are prohibited from using any handheld mobile phones for talking or texting while they are on duty
- All drivers are prohibited from texting, e-mailing and using the Internet on their handheld devices
- All cellphone use is prohibited on roadway work zones around the state
- No drivers 18 or younger can use a wireless phone while driving, even if they have hands-free devices in their car
Those who are caught violating these laws may be subject to fines. In 2011 alone, over 4,100 motorists around the state were ticketed for violating these laws.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have been injured by a driver who was distracted, you don’t have to suffer the aftermath of the accident alone. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages. Contact a qualified personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights and let you know how to hold the distracted driver responsible.