Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on the recent sting by the Illinois State Police to crackdown on distracted drivers. In its efforts, state troopers have stopped a man for shaving while driving on the busy Kennedy Expressway during the morning rush.
The shaving man was issued a warning, however, more than 135 other motorists were not as lucky and were ticketed for driving while distracted during the morning rush hours. Most of the ticketed motorists were cited for texting and driving, which carries a fine of about $120.
Illinois State Police employed several “spotters” for the sting, who kept watchful eyes on the southbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway and told troopers which cars to stop. The driving who was caught shaving was using an electric razor, and told a trooper had was late for work, just trying to multitask.
Another cited driver was texting while driving a pickup truck which had a small crane in the trailer. An Illinois trooper was nearly killed by a distracted driver in 2010 – the trooper, Starlena Wilson, was standing on the Dan Ryan Expressway near the driver’s side of a vehicle when she was hit by a driver who was using his cellphone. She was badly injured and required extensive rehabilitation.
A statewide ban on cellphone use while driving will take effect on January 1, 2014. Governor Pat Quinn signed the law in August 2013, banning the use of all hand-held devices behind the wheel and making the offense punishable through fines. About a dozen other states currently enforce similar laws.
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Beginning in the new year, distracted drivers who injure other drivers, passengers, bicyclists or pedestrians could face a Class A misdemeanor and be fined up to $2,500 with up to a year of jail time. Distracted drivers involved an a fatal crash could be charged with a Class 4 felony, be fined up to $25,000 and spend up to three years in prison.
It is widely believed that using cellphones “hands-free” via Bluetooth technologies is much safer than traditional modes of texting and calling. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), however, found that using hands-free methods is actually just as, if not more dangerous than traditional texting. This is because drivers have to go back over the message and manually correct errors, taking not only the mind off driving but eyes off the road as well.
The IIHS also recently conducted its annual crash test, which, unfortunately, came up with some dismal statistics. The crash test revealed that about half of all small cars tested received rankings of “poor” or “marginal.”
Among those cars tested were General Motors’ Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze (each received “marginal” scores), Kia’s Soul and 2014 Forte (both “poor”), and the Nissan Sentra (“poor”) and Volkswagen Beetle (“marginal”). The IIHS tests cars on side, rear, rollover, and front-end crashes.
The agency also recently added a test to the front corner of vehicles, as these nearly one-fourth of front vehicle crashes that result in serious injury or death occur in a single corner. This often occurs when a car smashes front-first into a tree, light pole or another vehicle.
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During the test cars crash into a five-foot barrier on the driver’s side at about 40 miles per hour. The new test proved difficult to six of twelve small cars, which will likely influence buyer behavior over the next year or so. An analyst predicted that the all automakers will eventually redesign vehicles to meet the standards of the new crash test.