Car accident: Cell phones not the only sources of distraction

So much is said about the dangers of texting and driving that Illinois motorists might overlook several other distractions that could have devastating consequences. Law enforcement can check the cellphone of an alleged negligent driver to identify activities that can prove distractions that led to a car accident. However, many other distractions are much more difficult to prove.

Studies have shown emotions like anger, sadness or agitation significantly increase crash risks. In another study, researchers determined that drivers who listen to their favorite music at excessive volumes make far more driving errors than those who listen to more soothing and softer music while driving. Many drivers do not realize that using hands-free technology for talking and sending emails or text messages with voice commands is as distracting as using a hands-on cellphone.

Research has also determined that children and dogs in the car take the driver’s attention off the road, and many respondents admitted to driving with their dogs on their laps. These distractions can be exacerbated by the need to reach to the rear seat to retrieve objects or attend to a child in a baby seat. Eating and enjoying beverages while driving has been found to increase crash risks by 80%, and maybe even higher when spills and burns occur. Another distraction that might not be obvious is driving with a full bladder. A hospital study showed that the need to go to a bathroom adversely affects a driver’s ability to focus and concentrate on driving, and is comparable to driving with a blood-alcohol content of .05%.

Unfortunately, all these seemingly insignificant distractions cause many car accidents and serious or even fatal injuries to others. Car accident victims can pursue financial relief through the Illinois civil justice system. However, the successful navigation of such a lawsuit depends on the ability of the plaintiff to prove negligence. This typically requires the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings.