Illinois drivers are faced with many hazards as they travel the state’s roadways. A car accident lawyer in Illinois understands that these hazards are only going to increase as technology improves. Recent developments in technology have created additional ways for motorists to become distracted, such as cell phones, GPS navigation systems and advanced radio systems. However, many young drivers are taking distracted driving to a new level by first snapping photographs of themselves with their phones, or taking “selfies,” and then posting them to social media accounts. According to CNN, the trend is only becoming more popular as time passes.
A popular distraction
CNN reports that millions of posts have been uploaded to popular social media websites with hashtags that involve driving. These include “#driving,” “#drivingtowork,” “#drivinghome” and “#drivingselfie.” To date, nearly 5 million photos and videos with these and similar tags have been uploaded to just a single site. Searches of other commonly used social media sites also result in millions of hits for the same hashtags.
Deadly consequences for motorists
A Clemmons, North Carolina woman was recently killed in a car crash after engaging in unsafe practices while she drove to work. According to the Huffington Post, the 32-year-old took selfies while driving and posted messages to social media accounts immediately prior to causing the accident that led to her death. The woman’s distracting behavior caused her to cross the median of a major highway and crash head-on into a large commercial truck. First responders indicate that the truck driver was unharmed but the woman died at the scene of the crash. Her last post to social media took place at 8:33 a.m., just one minute before the first calls came in to report her accident.
Effects of distracted driving
While official statistics are not available specifically for those taking selfies while driving, the government has been gathering information on distracted drivers for years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers become distracted whenever something takes their mind off the task of driving, or removes their hands from the steering wheel. When drivers take selfies and use their cell phones to post the photographs to social media accounts, they are engaging in all three types of distraction: cognitive, manual and visual.
The CDC reports that 3,331 people died in accidents involving a distracted driver in 2011. That same year, 387,000 people were injured in similar collisions. These accidents are completely preventable, yet they claim nine lives every day.
To ensure that accident victims receive the compensation that they need to heal and rebuild their lives, injured parties should contact a car accident lawyer in Illinois.