This week, our Chicago injury lawyers will discuss various initiatives and issues relating to distracted driving — in particular, drivers distracted by cell phones, PDAs, handheld devices and other technology. In recent months, an increased number of catastrophic motor vehicle accidents have been found to have been caused by drivers distracted by such devices.
The United States Department of Transportation issued new federal guidelines last week, banning commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones or texting while driving. The ban is the latest step towards curbing the number of people seriously injured or killed in bus or truck accidents. Illinois, along with 18 other states and the District of Columbia, have already enacted laws banning texting while driving.
Texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving an automobile is dangerous; doing so while behind the wheel of a semi-tracker trailer or bus, which weigh several thousand pounds and which may contain several passengers, including children, poses an even greater danger. Semi-trucks and buses are difficult to stop or maneuver quickly, and doing so may create additional dangers, such as jack knives or roll-overs that can lead to catastrophic injury and death.
Accidents involving semi-tracker trailers and buses can lead to debilitating injuries and even death. Such catastrophic accidents can be caused by numerous factors, such as faulty parts or driver negligence. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a vehicle accident, contact the experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys of Passen & Powell today at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.
Texting while driving falls under the category known as “distracted driving,” which USDOT defines as “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.” The USDOT lists three main types of distraction:
1. Visual (i.e., taking eyes off road)
2. Manual (i.e., removing hands from the steering wheel)
3. Cognitive (i.e., taking your mind off driving)
Distracted driving is not limited to using cell phones, or texting while driving. Actions that seem simple, almost commonplace, like changing the radio station or taking a sip of coffee from a travel mug, are also examples of distracted driving which may contribute to a deadly car crash.
The new federal guidelines take effect immediately and apply to trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds and to interstate buses that carry more than eight passengers. Violators are subject to a fine up to $2,750. For any questions, call a Chicago personal injury lawyer at Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.