It is no secret that there is a widespread campaign to prevent drivers while texting behind the wheel. According to CNN, those efforts may need to branch out to include selfies. The news organization reports that thousands of motorists have been snapping pictures of themselves and posting them to social media sites.
As a Chicago car accident lawyer knows, distracted driving is a serious threat to safety. People in Illinois and across the country should understand the danger of such destructive behavior.
The scope of the problem
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The agency attributes this phenomenon to a number of factors, including a lack of seat belt use, alcohol and inexperience.
Distracted driving is also a major culprit, accounting for 12 percent of the accidents that kill teenagers. Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every day, nine people are killed and 1,153 are injured as a result of a driver who was distracted.
Distracted driving campaigns largely target young drivers, though people of all ages are guilty of eating, drinking and cellphone use while on the road. CNN notes that people who are taking photos of themselves while behind the wheel appear to be teenagers and young adults. Researchers reviewed the driving-related hashtags linked to selfies in order to determine who has been posting.
A Chicago car accident lawyer could understand that drivers might take pictures of themselves while the vehicle is stopped. Social Media Week points out that the problem largely occurs when drivers upload those images to social networks – an activity that takes place while the car is rolling. Researchers have found time and again that drivers who take their eyes off the road for even just a few seconds double their risk of getting into an accident.
Regulating the behavior
Most states do not address social networking while driving and instead focus on texting. However, places like Illinois do ban cellphone use while driving. Illinois laws include the following:
- No handheld device may be used while driving
- Hands-free technology is permitted
- All cellphone use is banned in school zones or highway construction zone
- Novice drivers may not use a cellphone at all while driving
Drivers in Illinois who are caught using their phones while driving may be fined $75. The ban is considered a primary law, which means that law enforcement can pull over a driver simply for using the device without any other infraction present.
A fine may be the least of a driver’s worries following a distracted driving incident. Too often, these accidents cause serious injury and even death. Anyone with questions regarding this matter should consult with a Chicago car accident lawyer.