Oak Park, IL (PRWEB) January 25, 2014
A new law in Illinois increases the penalties for drivers under 19 years old who cause an accident while using a cellphone or other wireless device, legislation that could go a long way toward saving lives, said Oak Park, IL personal injury lawyer Gregory F. Coplan of Coplan & Crane law firm.
Commenting on a report in ABC 7 Eyewitness News, “New laws in 2014 for Illinois drivers” (Dec. 16, 2013), Coplan said his office has handled many personal injury cases involving distracted drivers.
“Anything lawmakers can do to eliminate texting while driving accidents in Illinois deserves to be praised,” Coplan said. “Our Chicago area law firm knows just how serious car accidents caused by texting drivers can be in Illinois. We work with many injury victims struggling to get their lives back on track after a serious distracted driving accident. Actions have consequences. While this law targets young people, all drivers need to know that if they cause a car accident in Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois while texting, they will be held accountable for their actions.”
Illinois’s new traffic law and increased penalties went into effect in January, according to ABC 7. Under the new law, drivers under 19 years old who cause an auto accident with injuries while using a wireless device will be charged with a Class 4 Felony, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Previously, drivers were charged with a Class A Misdemeanor under the same circumstances.
Another new law that went into effect on Jan. 1 in Illinois prohibits drivers of all ages from having video devices visible to the driver while driving, ABC 7 Eyewitness News reported. Drivers in Illinois are also now banned from using handheld electronic devices while driving, except for GPS navigation devices, ABC 7 Eyewitness News reported. Instead, drivers must use hands-free, voice-activated programs when using a cellphone while driving.
Including Illinois, 12 states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving, according to Governors Highway Safety Association website, which was last updated in January 2014. Drivers must use a hands-free device when talking on the phone in these states. In addition, Illinois is one of 41 states nationwide that has laws banning texting while driving for all drivers.
Coplan said there is strong scientific support for these new laws. For many years, the medical community has been studying the dangers of cellphone use, texting and other driver distractions. While distracted driving has long been known to be dangerous, those dangers are even greater with young drivers, Coplan said. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study confirming the “risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.” (“Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers,” Jan. 2, 2014).
Such laws serve an important role in making Illinois’ highways and roads safer for all drivers, according to Oak Park, IL auto accident attorney Benjamin A. Crane of Coplan & Crane. “Illinois needs to continue to be aggressive in its efforts to eliminate texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving,” Crane said. “I think many people finally realize that cellphones can be extremely dangerous when combined with driving. But everyone on the road needs to be alert and aware of what’s going on around them. All it takes is a handful of distracted drivers to cause a serious or even fatal car accident in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois for that matter. These accidents instantly change people’s lives forever. You can’t turn back the clock once a driver causes a catastrophic accident. That’s why Illinois needs to continue to be aggressive in our approach towards distracted driving accidents. We do that every day at Coplan & Crane. We fight for the rights of injury victims and their families, one case at a time.”
For more information about what to do after an auto accident in Illinois and the legal options available to families, call (800) 394-6002 or complete the online contact form.
About Coplan & Crane
Serving clients in Oak Park, Chicago and all of Illinois, Coplan & Crane handles a wide range of cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, railroad accidents, workplace injuries, dangerous products, medical malpractice and birth injuries. The law firm has a strong track record for obtaining large verdicts and settlements, including several, high-profile, multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts. A free consultation is available to all interested clients. The law firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means people only pay if they win.
Coplan & Crane
1111 Westgate Street
Oak Park, Illinois 60301