The dangers of distracted driving are well established. According to the Illinois State Police, distracted drivers cause more than one million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year. Some of these crashes cause deaths, some cause serious injuries, and the “lucky” ones just result in inconveniences.
We know the problem. We know what happens when a driver takes her hands off the steering wheel, her eyes off the road, or her mind off of driving safely. The question is, do we know how to fix the problem?
In 2019, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a research brief that looked at peer-reviewed research articles and reliable distracted driving studies published between 2010 and 2019. Specifically, the AAA Foundation considered educational initiatives, legislative actions, enforcement of distracted driving laws, and technology solutions.
Throughout Illinois, and the country, there are many different types of education and awareness activities that are all designed to prevent future distracted driving accidents. Some of these initiatives are more successful than others.
Awareness campaigns may include things such as posters, demonstrations, speakers, videos, and e-mails about the dangers of distracted driving. These efforts may target a specific group, such as students at one high school, or they may target a broader population. Often, researchers use surveys and may monitor driving behavior both before and after the awareness activities to determine if the initiatives work.
The short-term and long-term results of various distracted driving education campaigns are mixed but could play an essential role in preventing distracted driving accidents.
Illinois prohibits the use of handheld cell phones and other electronic devices for all drivers. Drivers who are 19 years old or older may use hands-free technology to use their cell phones or other devices while driving.
As is the case with education and awareness initiatives, the research about distracted driving laws is mixed. However, the majority of studies have found handheld cell phone bans to be successful in decreasing distracted driving behaviors and accidents. Texting only bans and bans that only apply to teen drivers have had more conflicting results.
Only three studies looked at the effectiveness of distracted driving law enforcement. All three studies looked at high visibility enforcement efforts by the police. The studies found that high visibility enforcement resulted in fewer people using handheld cell phones, but did not have a significant effect on the number of accidents.
Technology may also help reduce distracted driving accidents. Technological advances include cellphone-blocking technology that disables calls and notifications in moving vehicles and technology that sends information to the driver or a third-party, such as a parent, when a driver uses a phone or is otherwise distracted.
So far, possible technological solutions to combat distracted driving have not been researched as much as the other methods of distracted driving. Still, the research that has been done shows that technology can be useful in preventing distracted driving accidents.
Above, we discussed four different ways that other people can help prevent distracted driving.
However, you can also be part of the solution. As a driver, you can be careful to concentrate on the road, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and keep your eyes on the road around you.
Additionally, if you’ve been hurt in a distracted driving accident, then you can pursue a distracted driving accident lawsuit. Your case not only sends a message to the driver who caused your crash, but also to other drivers, about the personal and legal consequences of distracted driving.
Our experienced Illinois car accident lawyers are here to help you get the compensation that you deserve if you’ve been hurt in a distracted driving crash. Please call us or start a live chat with us at any time to learn more about your rights and to schedule your free initial consultation.