The Chicago Tribune reports that one in four motorists were using their phone shortly before a crash occurred. The report cited a study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a company that makes applications for insurance companies. The personal injury lawyer, Peter Zneimer notes that more and more of the pedestrian and bike cases he handles involve a driver who is on his or her cell phone and is distracted at the time the crash occurs. The personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have even handled a case where a motorist dropped her cell phone on the floor of her car while driving and was rummaging around the floor of her car with her eyes completely off the road when she hit our client who was bicycling and was completely in his bike lane at time of impact. Our client suffered serious injuries because of the gross negligence of this extremely distracted driver.
The state of Illinois has had a law against using a cell phone while driving since 2014. A ticket for driving while using a cell phone is $75.00, going up to $150.00 for repeat offenders. One would expect to see a big difference the amount of time that drivers spend on the phone in the state of illinois that has a ban on driving and talking on a cell phone and states that do not have any prohibitions for cell phone use. However, the Cambridge study, which looked at more than 100,000 drivers over 18 months, found little difference. In Illinois, the average time on the phone was 3.17 minutes per 100 miles versus 3.82 minutes on the phone for drivers in states with no cell phone law.
Not too surprisingly, the top 10 percent of distracted drivers, i.e. the drivers who spent the most time on the phone were 2.3 times more likely than the average driver to get into a crash.
Obviously, having a law against using a cell phone while driving is not enough to prevent people from using their cell phone. The tragic stories that are becoming a reoccurring feature in the news of teenagers killed while driving while on “face time” or killed texting while driving are shocking but they still aren’t enough to stop people from using their cell phones. Perhaps a technical solution can be developed like the beeping cars make when seat belts are not fastened. One would think a creative solution could be developed.
If you you or a family member has been injured in an accident, call the lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer for a free evaluation.