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Teen Driver Safety Tips

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes remain the number one leading cause of death for teenagers. Due to this, the week of October 20-26, 2019 is being dedicated as National Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness about safe teen driving and to continue seeking solutions to prevent teen injuries and fatalities on the roadway. Getting involved with this week can include starting conversations about safe driving behaviors and sharing safety messages with others- the most optimal way of changing behavior is to encourage positive action.

Statistics reveal that many lives could be saved each year if every driver and passenger in motor vehicles wore a seatbelt, followed the speed limit, and never got behind the wheel impaired. Knowing the appropriate traffic laws can enable teens to practice safe driving methods, which is what this week aims to accomplish. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a contributing factor in 26 percent of all fatal crashes and has been involved in one-third of all vehicle crash fatalities for more than two decades. This reckless behavior increases the likelihood of injury or death, especially for new and inexperienced drivers, such as teens.

It is encouraged that parents assign their own speed management house rules for their newly licensed teens, which can include slowing down in heavy traffic, in inclement weather, in road construction, and in the event of other hazards. It is important to remind teens that state speeding laws are applicaple only in optimal driving conditions and that they should reduce their speed in certain situations, regardless of the speed limit. Teens must gradually learn the ability to manage their speed based on road conditions and other factors, which will be a useful skill throughout their lives.

Additionally, teens are at an increased risk of distracted driving and families are encouraged to help manage this dangerous risk. Distracted driving inhibits teens’ abilities to react in potential crashes since they are inexperienced. It is recommended for parents to model safe driving behaviors for their teens to adopt when they are on the roadways by themselves, which includes limiting the number of peer passengers, not talking or texting on a cell phone, not changing the dashboard controls, eating or engaging in other activities while driving. A major crash risk for teens stems from having peer passengers in the vehicle, which makes them less attentive and focused. This fact should prompt parents to limit the number of peer passengers allowed in the vehicle with their teen drivers.

Within the Danville community, Danville Highschool’s Future Problem Solvers have continued to promote road safety through their “Project Ignition: Be the Key to Road Safety.” Spiros Law, P.C. has sponsored their initiative of placing signs at different locations throughout Danville that remind drivers of important road safety behaviors. Spiros Law, P.C. is proud to be involved with the group’s efforts to promote safe driving. Unfortunately, however, car crashes continue to occur every day at high rates, resulting in devasting damages to individuals and families. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a motor vehicle crash due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are readily available to assist you in your legal matters and handle each case with the compassion and attention it deserves. Contact one of our attorneys today at (217) 443-4343 to receive a free consultation.

July Brings New Changes to Distracted Driving Penalty

July 1st marks the inauguration of new distracted driving enforcements. Illinois state representatives and law enforcement officials are tightening the reigns on the citations given when a driver is in violation of distracted driving laws. Using a cellphone while driving is prohibited in the state of Illinois however, just a warning will no longer be issued on the first offense. A moving violation will be given along with a fine of $75. For every offense following the fine will increase as follows, 2nd offense $100, 3rd offense $125, and $150 for all future offenses. This law is not only limited to cellphones but will apply to all electronic communication devices. These new rules are being put into place to help us prevent fatal automobile collisions by eliminating distractions and focusing on the road at all times.

Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. With about 1,000 reported accidents, 9 people die each day from distracted drivers.

What are the types of distracted driving?

There are three main types. Visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual, includes anything that could cause you to take your eyes off of the road. Manual, meaning anything that would cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive, anything that would cause your mind to drift. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. When you send or read a text message you are taking your eyes off the road for about five seconds. This is the same amount of time it takes to cover the length of a football field if you are traveling at 55 MPH. It is important to assume responsibility for our actions and implement preventative measures into our daily routines that can help protect ourselves and others. Installing hands-free devices or placing your cellphone out of arms reach will both reduce distractions and make the roads safer for everyone.

Who is the most at risk?

Teenage drivers under the age of twenty are the most at risk. This age group has the highest percentage of distraction-related fatal collisions.  In a study, 42% of high school drivers, who had reported driving in the past 30 days, reported sending a text or email while driving. Those who have reported texting while driving are more likely to drive without wearing a seatbelt, more likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking, and more likely to drink and drive. These are the types of situations these new laws aim to abolish. In the past year, Illinois law enforcement officials issued 15,150 distracted driving violations.

Distracted driving is a dangerous activity and should not be taken light-heartedly. We must hold ourselves accountable but unfortunately, we cannot always be responsible for the actions of others. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to an accident due to distracted driving you may be eligible for compensation from the responsible party to help with your injuries, property damages, and emotional and physical suffering. Call a Spiros Law attorney in our Danville office at (217) 443-4343 to explore your options.