As we have all heard by now, this country has a serious problem with auto accidents caused by distracted driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 80% of all auto accidents involve some form of distracted driving. The main reason most drivers become distracted these days is because they cannot put down their cell phone. Just recently, the NHTSA issued report on actual or near car accidents involving drivers on cell phones. Based on the report, young drivers had the highest level of cell-phone involved car accidents or near car accident incidents than any age group. Of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an auto accident, 13% admitted they were using their cell phone at the time of the crash. As a Chicago personal injury lawyer experienced in prosecuting auto accidents involving distraction, the NHTSA's report is certainly troubling--but hardly surprising.
Just recently, I was driving my own children home from soccer. In front of me was a twenty-something stopped at a green light. After five seconds, I tapped my horn and she sped off. Two blocks later, we came to a stop again. As I looked at her through her rear view mirror, I saw her head quickly tilt down and not move for at least twenty seconds. When the light turned green, traffic in front of her moved. She didn't. Once again, I honked my horn. Her head popped up and she hit the gas--but not without glaring at me from her rear view mirror. Apparently, I had distracted her from an important text or email. As we traveled another few blocks, I saw her head tilt down again but, this time, she was not stopped. She was driving down the road, with traffic in front of her, in a residential neighborhood. A half block later, cars in front of her slowed down. She didn't. I immediately honked my horn again, hoping to distract her attention to the road. Fortunately, it worked--but just barely. She slammed on her brakes and just missed hitting the mini van in front of her. Having just experienced a near miss collision, you would think she learned her lesson, right? Nope. She tilted her head back down and returned to her cell phone.