One of the keystones of Illinois traffic-safety laws is the ban on texting while driving that applies to all types of drivers of all ages. Of course, it is logical that texting while your eyes and attention should be on the road and your hands on the wheel is a dangerous activity. Not surprisingly, the statistics paint a grim picture of just how hazardous texting behind the wheel actually can be.
Texting changes brain waves
Objective medical evidence is beginning to surface regarding the impact of the act of texting on the brain itself. According to a June 2016 Forbes article, Mayo Clinic researchers using EEGs found that texting created new, unique brain waves in one-fifth of patients texted. Forbes quoted lead researcher neurologist William Tatum as saying, "There is now a biological reason why people shouldn't text and drive - texting can change brain waves."
A serious, lasting distraction
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA sponsors an official federal government distracted-driving website, which describes text messaging behind the wheel as the most alarming of driving distractions because it requires "visual, manual and cognitive attention" from the driver. Here are some of the facts shared on this page:
- Younger drivers use electronic devices more than older drivers.
- An Eric Insurance survey found that one-third of drivers said they had texted while driving and three-quarters have seen other drivers doing so.
- The average time eyes are off the road when a driver texts is five seconds. At 55 mph, the car travels the length of a football field during this amount of time, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
Australia's Monash University Accident Research Centre studied text messaging in young novice drivers with alarming findings. All subjects said their driving performance worsened when sending texts and almost all when retrieving them. The time drivers' eyes were off the road increased by up to 400 percent when texting.
Anyone in Illinois who is hurt in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver should speak with a lawyer as early as possible so that legal counsel can launch an investigation into the facts of the case and evaluate whether a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate. A driver who caused a crash while illegally texting behind the wheel may be liable because of negligently or recklessly causing harm to another.
The personal injury attorneys at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., in Chicago represent motor vehicle accident victims throughout Chicagoland and across the state of Illinois.