Chicago’s New Texting While Driving Law Might Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents
Effective July 1, 2019, Cell phone use while driving became an official moving violation in Chicago. This means that any action on the phone – reading, sending, or receiving a text message, calling, or browsing the internet while driving is now punishable by law.
9 out of 10 teens expect a reply to a text within 5 minutes of less, putting a lot of pressure on them to respond even when driving.
In Chicago, a traffic ticket for operating a mobile phone while driving can end up costing you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, depending on the violation. First offenders can get off easily by paying a fine; repeat offenders can also get jail time.
The fines can go up to $150 for repeat offenders. However, note that you might have to pay mandatory court costs that can rack up your costs in addition to the fine.
When is Jail Time Applicable in a Distracted Driving Offense?
In addition to getting fined, you also face jail time in the following circumstances:
- If you cause severe injuries, disfigurement, or disability to another person due to your texting, you face a maximum of 364 days in county jail.
- If your actions result in the death of a road user, then this is considered a felony, and you face a maximum of 3 years behind bars.
In addition to these, you will pay a minimum fine of $1,000 and have your driver’s license suspended for a year.
Why is Distracted Driving Taken Seriously in Chicago?
You don’t have to read the news daily to understand the dangers of distracted driving in Chicago. Here are a few statistics to help you know the seriousness of this habit:
- Distracted driving leads to more than ten deaths per day in the US
- In 2018 alone, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives, among them 400 pedestrians and 77 bicycle riders
- Illinois recorded an 11 percent increase in deaths due to accidents in 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. The increase was attributed to, among others, distracted driving
- Nearly 80 percent of drivers know that driving while texting is dangerous, yet 35 percent report that they do it regularly.
- Reading a text message on the phone can distract the driver for at least 5 seconds during which an accident can easily occur
- Sending a text while driving increases the risk of accidents by four times
- Distracted driving is responsible for more than 58 percent of all crashes involving teen drivers
Whether minor or severe, accidents can change a person’s life drastically. They often lead to loss of income, pain and suffering, or disabilities.
What Happens After a Distracted Driving Accident?
Normally, the police officer indicates on the ticket whether you pay the ticket or proceed to court. If you have no idea what to do, contact experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers to guide you.
As discussed earlier, if you get a ticket while driving, you might lose your license, which can inconvenience you. Only a qualified Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you handle the ticket the right way.
How Can Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Help You?
Negligence in distracted driving occurs when you don’t use reasonable care, such as using the phone while driving, to prevent harm to someone else. If the plaintiff can prove that you were using a phone when driving, he can prove negligence and ask for compensation.
It is upon you to prove that you didn’t cause the accident, which requires hiring a good lawyer to help you do that.
Proving Distracted Driving
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and you suspect the other person was using a phone at the time of the accident, you have the burden to prove this. You can opt to use phone records that will show if the person was chatting or talking to another person at the time.
This is where Chicago personal injury lawyers come in. They assist you to gather evidence to support the claim that the defendant was using the phone at the time of the accident.
The lawyers also identify and talk to witnesses that can corroborate your story. Do you need a lawyer to help you with a distracted driving accident claim? Call us today for expert advice and representation.