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Safety advocates raise awareness about distracted driving dangers

The technology that leads to distracted driving tempts drivers throughout Illinois on a daily basis. Smartphones and dashboard touchscreens take people's eyes off of the road and result in accidents. According to the National Safety Council, these distracted driving crashes kill nine people and injure another 100 people every day. To educate the public about the serious problem, the council and other organizations promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month each April.

The Risk Institute has contributed to this year's event by coordinating a nationwide effort among dozens of public and private organizations to study research about distracted driving. The executive director of the institute called distracted driving an epidemic, and he hopes to initiate research-based solutions that alleviate the danger.

Research on driver behavior identified high levels of confidence as a factor that contributes to risky behavior like distracted driving. The design of urban roadway environments also correlates with crash risks. Greater levels of distracted driving occur depending on the number of lanes and roadway length. The presence of a median or paved shoulder appears to reduce wrecks associated with distractions.

If an accident investigation reveals that a driver was using a phone or doing something else in a vehicle, then an accident victim might pursue damages on the basis of driver negligence. Someone coping with serious injuries, however, might feel overwhelmed when trying to collect evidence or negotiate with a hostile insurance company. An attorney could aid a person in this position and manage the details of a personal injury claim. With legal representation, a person could gain a better understanding of rights to compensation instead of accepting an insurance adjuster's opinion. An attorney could also manage litigation if a lawsuit becomes necessary to hold a responsible party accountable for lost pay and medical expenses.

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