In November of 2019, Alexandra Mansonet was on her way to work at a New Jersey non-profit at around 8:30 a.m., when she smashed into the back of a parked Toyota Corolla. The Corolla subsequently shot forward and struck a pedestrian, Yuwen Wang, which sent her flying into the air. Ms. Wang had just said goodbye to her husband for the day as she went out for her morning walk. Following the collision, she was transported to the hospital and died several days later. Ms. Mansonet told police that she looked up to see the Corolla right in front of her as she was driving. She admitted that she was texting and driving at the time of the collision.
The prosecution equated the crime of her distracted driving with that of someone who had been drinking and driving. People seemingly check their phones and send text messages while driving all the time, but according to Cambridge Mobile Telematics, distracted driving can actually be more dangerous than drunk driving. Drunk drivers need about four more feet added to their stopping reaction time than non-distracted sober drivers. However, a distracted sober driver (for example, someone who is texting) needs about 70 more feet to look up and realize what is going on.
Illinois law prohibits the use of any handheld devices such as cellphones while driving. The use of hands-free devices (such as, Bluetooth communications) is permitted for those 19 or older. Those under the age of 19 cannot use any sort of mobile device while driving, even if they are not looking at it or physically holding it. Distracted driving itself has become a crime that is punishable by fine and potentially incarceration. In Illinois, distracted driving is not limited to cell-phone use, as it can be labeled as anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Distracted driving includes eating, drinking, changing the music, and turning around to talk to passengers.
Each year in the United States, around 2.5 million people are involved in accidents on the road. About 64 percent of those accidents involve a cellphone. 78 percent of accidents involving a cellphone are caused by texting, and 330,000 of these accidents commonly lead to severe injuries annually. Texting and driving is six times more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident than drinking and driving. About 11 teenagers die every single day because of texting and driving. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of vehicular death for teenagers. For more information about car accidents involving teenagers, visit our blog on teenage driving statistics.
New distracted driving laws are created all the time, and police officers are cracking down on drivers who text and drive, even if they are stopped at red lights. Statistics still show that thousands upon thousands of people are injured, and many die from vehicular accidents each year that result from all forms of distracted driving. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or loss in an accident related to distracted driving, contact the personal injury accident lawyers at the Law Firm of John J. Malm & Associates for more information about how you may be entitled to receive legal compensation for your injuries or losses.