Drivers in Illinois should know that distracted driving is behind an increasing number of crashes. Strictly speaking, anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road is a distraction. This can include eating, drinking, looking at billboards and adjusting the radio. One of the most distracting activities, though, is phone use.

Manipulating a phone, such as when sending texts or surfing the web, has been definitively linked with a higher car crash risk. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that the same largely goes for talking on a phone; only a minority of studies do not support that conclusion. These are important things to keep in mind, considering how widespread phone use is.

For example, it has been estimated that 9.7% of all drivers, at any given time of day, can be found using a hands-free or handheld phone behind the wheel. The National Center for Statistics and Analysis has noted an increase in distracted drivers under the age of 25, too. Whereas 1.1% of these drivers were found to use their phones in 2009, that percentage became 4.2% in 2018.

Each state has its laws on drivers’ cell phone use. Illinois bans handheld phone conversations and texting for all drivers as well as all phone use among licensed drivers and learner’s permit holders under 19.

Whether drivers comply with these laws is another matter. Those who suffer serious auto accident injuries and discover that the other driver was using a cell phone may have a clear-cut personal injury case. Still, they might want a lawyer to assist them with each step, including the gathering of evidence and the negotiating of a settlement. The lawyer may obtain the other party’s phone records and hire crash investigators to help as well. Victims might consider litigation if negotiations fail.