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National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is April in 2019

Distracted driving, often described as an epidemic, continues to plague the roads all over Illinois and the rest of the United States. To help combat it, officials have named April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

It is about more than just awareness. Reports out of Illinois note that police are planning to increase their patrols and be more vigilant than they are the rest of the year. While they always watch out for distracted driving, it is a special point of emphasis in April. Those who text behind the wheel or otherwise get distracted by their cellphones can get tickets.

Is it working?

You may wonder if it is actually working. Maybe you see drivers on their phones all of the time. Maybe you witness people texting and driving every time you stop at a red light. Maybe you simply read the statistics and found out that distracted driving continues to be one of the leading reasons for car accidents, a spot that it has held often over the last 10 years.

That’s all true, but efforts do seem to be taking things in the right direction. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people who lost their lives because of distracted driving back in 2017 fell by 9 percent when compared to 2016. While that still meant that 3,166 people passed away in accidents that could easily have been prevented, it is positive movement after years of seeing these statistics only increase.

The risk of distraction

Why is distraction so dangerous? The real problem is that people seem to forget just how inherently dangerous driving is. You are in a car that may weigh 4,000 pounds or more. It can go 70 miles per hour, which is fast enough for something with that much mass to cause an incredible amount of destruction in an accident. At that speed, you only have a split second to react if anything happens that you didn’t expect.

Remember how you felt when you first got behind the wheel? You probably drove slowly, with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. It took all of your attention to drive safely.

As you got more experience, though, it started to feel routine. Now, it even feels boring. That’s when people start thinking about making a phone call or reading a text message. Their understanding of the high level of risk fades after years without an accident, even though it still only takes a split second for that risk to become all too real again.

Your rights

If you get hit by a distracted driver in April or any other month, you must know all of the legal rights you have to seek out compensation.