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Cell Phones and Chicago Roadways Don't Mix. Save a Life. Stay Off Your Phone.

Casey Woodruff

In August, a Hawthorn Woods man was stopped on the shoulder of Highway 53 in Rolling Meadows changing a flat tire when another driver slammed into him. The other driver, a woman from Buffalo Grove, pinned him between his truck and the center median, the force of the crash wedging her own car underneath his pickup truck.

The driver of the pickup was conscious when emergency workers arrived but suffered serious injuries from the Chicagoland car crash. He was taken to the Level I Trauma Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital but did not survive his injuries. He died September 1, one month after the tragic car crash, leaving behind his wife and two teenage daughters.

An investigation into the cause of the crash revealed that the driver had been using her cell phone just prior to causing the fatal Illinois car accident. She admitted to receiving text messages from friends and scrolling through her contacts while driving. Shortly thereafter, she clipped a semi-trailer and careened onto the shoulder of the highway where she struck the disabled pickup and its driver.

The Dangers of Texting, Emailing or Calling While Driving Chicago Roadways

A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute reported that texting or emailing behind the wheel doubles a driver’s reaction time. While this translates to only a three to four-second increase in the time it takes a driver to react to debris in the road or other changing conditions, when traveling at highway speeds that is enough time to travel over 100 yards, or the length of a football field.

The United States Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving plays some role in 20 percent of all fatal car crashes. Cell phones are the most common source of driver distractions such as texting while driving, emailing, checking Facebook or other social media or simply making phone calls.

Justice For Those Injured or Killed By Distracted Drivers?

The driver that caused the fatal car crash on Highway 53 was originally cited for use of an electronic device while driving (texting while driving), improper lane use and driving on the shoulder of the highway. Those charges were dropped last week as prosecutors clear the way for more serious charges following the death of the car crash victim.

The driver denies that cell phone use played a role in the accident and blamed the crash on an overcorrection to avoid debris in the road. But, perhaps the cell phone distracted her just long enough to slow her reaction time and lead to the tragic crash?

Source: Chicago Tribune, “More serious charges in works for woman cited for texting while driving,” 14 October 2011

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