No driver wants to become the victim of a traffic accident, yet Cook County drivers who text and driving risk are causing the same crashes they hope to avoid. The majority of Illinois lawmakers agree texting devices, including cellphones, are distractions drivers cannot afford.
Texting while driving has been banned in Illinois for some time. The state will become the first in the Midwest to outlaw drivers' use of hand-held cellphones on Jan. 1. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hopes the law will reduce grim distracted driving statistics. The agency reported 387,000 distracted driving injuries in the U.S. and over 3,000 related deaths in 2011.
Telecommunications provider AT&T has been promoted an anti-texting and driving campaign for three years. The company recently used Illinois school assemblies and texting simulators to convince vulnerable, young drivers that distracted driving is a dangerous habit. AT&T has accumulated 2.5 million signatures from people promising not to text while driving.
Statistical awareness - like texting increases the chance of a crash by 23 times - improves chances drivers won't take unnecessary risks. For some teens, lessons about texting while driving have come from personal experience, like the death of friend in a distracted driving car accident.
An 18-year-old student was so affected by a friend's death in a texting crash three years ago that he promised to delay his studies at the University of Illinois. Over the next year, the agricultural sciences major will amass no-texting while driving pledges among 17,000 young members of Illinois Farm Bureau affiliates.
Governments responsible are responsible for implementing road safety projects and designing laws to ensure public protection. Drivers share accountability by paying consequences for breaking laws meant to protect them and other motorists from needless car accidents, injuries and deaths.
Texting and, soon, cellphone-using drivers can be forced to pay damages to victims of personal injury claims and families suffering wrongful death losses.
pantagraph.com, "FFA joins fight against texting while driving" Phyllis Coulter, Sep. 19, 2013