Wisconsin Woman Accused Of Using Facebook At Time Of Car Crash That Killed 3

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that the driver of who was involved in a car crash that killed three (3) children may have been chatting on Facebook with her phone right before the accident.

Cellphone records show that the driver was sending and receiving Facebook chat messages just before the crash, Pierce County investigators allege.  Authorities believe driver inattention contributed to the Dec. 12, 2013, car crash on Wisconsin Highway 35 near Prescott.

The woman’s SUV collided with a truck after she apparently lost control on a curve. The woman’s 11 year old daughter and two 5 year old nieces died from injuries in the car crash. The truck driver and his two (2) passengers were not injured in the accident.

I have not written about distracted driving in quite some time but this is still a pervasive problem in this country. Studies have shown that texting or emailing while driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. A lack of focus for a second or two is all it takes for a car accident to occur. Texting and driving has been banned in Illinois but questions remain as to whether penalties a harsh enough. I believe if it is found that the texting was the cause of an accident, and there was an injured party, then there needs to be tougher penalties. I believe that texting and driving that causes an injury should be treated the same as a DUI, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. Class A misdemeanors in Illinois can be punishable up to a year in jail.

If you or someone you love has been injured in Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

AT&T Chief Executive Speaks Out Against Texting & Driving

Unless you are living
under a rock, it would be hard to miss out on all of the anti texting and
driving campaigning that has been going on. There have been multiple public
service announcements on TV, multiple articles (and blogs) written and most
states (39 total) have outlawed the practice. Recently, and I think
importantly, the heads of the major telecommunications companies have been
speaking out. Specifically, Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T discussed
the subject at the outset of a speech in front of investors at a conference on
the state of the telecommunications business.

The New York
Times
 reported that Stephenson began his speech before hundreds of
people by stating that there must be a change regarding the use of phones in
cars. “the Smartphone is a product we sell
and it’s being used inappropriately. We have got to drive behavior.”  He
went on to state that since he has gone public on this issue he has had to curb
his own practice of using the phone in the car. “When I went public, I
told my wife: ‘You know what this means? I can no longer touch this 
iPhone or BlackBerry in the car.’ ” He puts his
devices in a cup holder and silences them. “It was a habit I had to break.”

This is
a small step but still meaningful. It must be pointed out the AT&T and
other cell phone companies only recently stopped their lobby against the
curbing of cell phone use in cars.  This was a significant move on these
companies part, but real progress will take place when they actually put their
money where their mouth is and join the lobby towards approving cell phone and
driving laws.

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a freeconsultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.
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NY Times Video On Distracted Driving Points Out Dangers Of Texting & Driving

If you click here you can view a video on the New York Times website regarding the dangers of texting and driving. The video clip points out all of the statistical dangers of using your phone while driving. For example, studies have shown that talking on your phone while driving is so distracting that it is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol content of .08, which is legally drunk for driving.

I have written on this subject and discussed multiple studies in the past on this blog. The reason I am posting this video is due to all the people interviewed in the clip. Many of the people all admit to using their phone (talking and texting) while driving. People know it is dangerous – – they see others being distracted by it – – yet they continue to do it. It is kind of funny because the only person interviewed who admitted to switching to a blue tooth for his ear stated that he switched over because he had received 5 tickets for using his phone while driving. I find this amusing because I have argued over and over that the only way to convince people to stop texting in driving is to increase the penalties. Raise the fines, require safety classes and if someone is injured in a crash, then suspend the license and threaten jail time. I am convinced that this is the only way to convince people to stop texting and driving.
If you or someone your love has been injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.  

NTSB Recommends Total Ban On Cell Phones In Vehicles

I wrote last week about the drastic increase of drivers who texted behind the wheel.The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) administration found these text and drive results among U.S. drivers through various studies.


These findings appeared to have sent a serious jolt throughout the federal government, as the board dedicated to keeping highways and roads safe – – the National Highway Safety Board – – has recommended a complete ban on cell phone use while driving. The only exception would be in case of emergencies.  The government (in my opinion rightfully) believes that texting and driving is an epidemic similar to drinking and driving.  According to the NHTSA there were 3,092 roadway fatalities last year involved distracted drivers. Though they believe the number may actually be higher. Federal officials have taken to calling phone use behind the wheel “the new DUI.”

This type of restriction is going to face serious opposition I believe from both Republicans and Democrats. There will also be strong opposition from each state as they will argue that it is an issue they can legislate themselves.  Personally, I think it will be difficult to justify a complete ban on cell phone use for drivers as so many people rely on their phone for business purposes. Yet it appears that the government studies are correct in asserting that texting and driving is an epidemic similar to drinking and driving. As I mentioned last week, until people recognize the potential consequences of texting and driving (similar to not wearing a seat belt or driving while drunk), then people will continue to type on their phones while driving. How do we change this mentality?  For now it will take time, but just like drinking and driving laws, the local, state and federal governments need to enact stiffer penalties. 

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

IDOT Launches Safe Driving Campaign: “Drive Now. Text Later.”

The dangers of texting and driving  has been discussed numerous times on this blog. Despite all of the media attention and the change in the law banning texting and driving, it surprises me how many friends and clients still do not know about this law.

Apparently IDOT and other state organizations feel the same way about the awareness of the texting and driving ban. IDOT is determined to raise awareness as they recently launched a new campaign titled “Drive Now. Text Later.”  IDOT has joined forces with The Illinois Tollway, The Illinois State Police, Illinois Secretary of State and AAA Chicago in their implementation of this campaign.

The campaign features a series of three professionals: a school bus driver, an airline pilot and a surgeon and reminds drivers: “He should be focused… and so should you.” These images demonstrate the need to focus on the job at hand and that texting while performing other tasks can be dangerous and deadly – not just to yourself, but also to those around you.

“We were surprised to learn that so many of our customers were simply not aware that texting while driving is illegal in Illinois,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “This campaign is intended to remind us of the potentially deadly consequences that go along with texting while driving. Our customers need to focus on safe driving and remember that they can’t do both.”

The public awareness campaign will include: the placement of posters on tollbooths, in retail outlets, rest stops, oases and driver’s license facilities; radio and television public service announcements; bumper stickers and window clings; signage on roadway message boards; newsletter articles and other tools to help educate Illinois residents about the dangers of texting while driving. The campaign will also feature a Web site with downloadable public service announcements, print-ready fliers and posters, a fact sheet, tips to avoid distracted driving and links to other useful online resources.

Remember to put that phone down when you are on the road. It could save your life and those around you.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident  or Chicago truck accident , then call Chicago personal injury attorney , Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com

Federal Government Bans Texting For Truckers And Bus Drivers

On Tuesday, the federal government formally barred truckers and bus drivers from sending text messages while behind the wheel, putting its imprimatur on a prohibition embraced by many large trucking and transportation companies.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”
 
19 states, including Illinois, have banned texting while driving for all drivers. The Federal Government may not be far behind.  Soon after the NHSTA made this announcement, a group of Senators introduced new legislation that would ban texting by all drivers.

This move by the Federal government is not surprising at all. Texting bans appear to be the trend for local governments and now he federal government. It will be interesting to see if and when the new legislation passes.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.