April 11, 2022
Distracted Driving Accidents in Rockford, IL
Posted in: Car Accidents
Some drivers mistakenly believe they can divide their attention between driving and another action. They’re wrong. Thousands are injured or die in distracted driving accidents every year. These injuries and deaths are more tragic because they’re entirely preventable.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers distracted driving as any activity that takes your attention from safe driving. Read on to learn more about distracted driving, current statistics, and how the City of Rockford is trying to make local roads safer.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are some examples of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Stats
In 2019, the NHTSA reported 3,142 fatalities in distracted driving accidents nationwide.
In Rockford, the number of fatal car crashes doubled in 2021, from distracted drivers. Many of the over 7,000 car crashes in Rockford happened during daylight hours and on dry roads.
How Drivers Become Distracted
Any of these types of distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Here are the most common sources of distraction for drivers:
Adjusting Controls & Equipment
Turning on the heat, adjusting the air conditioner or radio, or entering an address into your car’s navigation are distractions that shouldn’t be performed while driving.
Eating & Drinking
Drivers who take their eyes off the road to retrieve a straw or open a fast food container become distracted and dangerous.
Having an intense or emotional conversation creates a distracted driver. It’s also dangerous when a parent turns around to deal with a child or infant in the backseat.
Texting & Using a Mobile Device
Using a phone is among the most harmful types of driver distraction. Texting requires such concentration that it’s comparable to driving the length of a football food with your eyes closed.
Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get in an accident, according to the Illinois State Police (ISP).
Is Distracted Driving Illegal?
It is unlawful to use a handheld device for texting and making a phone call while driving in Illinois. Drivers 18 and younger may not use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, even with hands-free devices or Blue Tooth.
Pull Over to Make That Call
There are three scenarios in which Illinois drivers may use a cell phone that is not hands-free:
- To call 9-1-1 and report an emergency
- While parked on the shoulder of a road or highway
- While the car is in neutral or parked in obstructed traffic conditions
Distracted Drivers Face Harsh Penalties
Illinois has harsh penalties for distracted drivers.
If you’re caught texting and driving in Illinois, expect to face:
- $75 for the first violation
- $100 for the second violation
- $125 for the third violation
- $150 for four or more distracted driving violations
Under Illinois law, distracted driving accidents that result in “great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement” carry an automatic fine of $1,000 and a 12-month driver’s license suspension.
You could also be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries:
- Up to 364 days in jail
- A maximum fine of $2,500
Distracted driving accidents that result in a fatality are considered Class 4 felonies. Convicted Class 4 felonies face up to three years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Distracted driving is a moving violation that results in points on your license. Accrue three moving violations in the same year, and you could lose your driving privileges.
Points on your license also mean higher car insurance premiums or that your carrier drops your coverage. No auto insurance means no driving on Illinois roadways.
Distracted Driver Awareness in Rockford
With fatal car crashes rising, the City of Rockford created a new campaign designed to discourage the use of hand-held devices while driving.
The initiative is called “Phone in one hand, ticket in the other.” Police officers hope that the threat of a costly moving violation is enough to scare the text out of drivers.
The Rockford Police Department and the Illinois State Police want drivers to share the word about distracted driving fines and penalties. The agencies don’t have as many officers on patrol as they would like and stress the importance of community involvement.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Get Help Today
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers handle car accident claims and lawsuits involving distracted drivers. We put our decades of combined legal experience to work for you.
Our Rockford car accident lawyers collect evidence, file your insurance claim, and negotiate for a fair settlement. If necessary, we’ll take your case to court to get you the compensation you deserve.
Schedule your free, no-risk consultation today. There are no up-front fees, and you owe us nothing unless you recover compensation. Reach out online or call (312) 236-2900.