The Dangers of Distracted Driving: How Texting Behind the Wheel Can Ruin Lives in Illinois

Distracted driving is an epidemic on roads across the United States, and Illinois is no exception. Engaging in activities like texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel puts the driver and everyone around them in danger. This article will explore the dangers of distracted driving, with a focus on texting while driving, and provide some sobering statistics on how this irresponsible behavior ruins lives in Illinois every year.

The Prevalence of Distracted Driving in Illinois

It’s no secret that drivers are increasingly distracted on the road by their cell phones and other electronic devices. But just how common is this hazardous behavior? Some statistics on distracted driving in Illinois:

  • In 2020 alone, an estimated 193 people were killed in 171 distracted driving crashes across Illinois. This shows that many drivers are still paying more attention to their phones than the road.
  • Nationwide, distracted driving contributes to around 400,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths annually. The economic toll is also immense, costing nearly $40 billion per year in North America by some estimates.
  • Using a phone while driving dramatically increases crash risk. Experts say it makes a collision 4 times more likely compared to focused driving. Just a few seconds of diverted attention can have devastating consequences.
  • New data reveals concerning trends from 2020-2022, including a 21% increase in phone motion and 23% rise in screen interaction among drivers. Those frequently handling their phones are over 240% more likely to crash.
  • Among all states, Illinois ranks as the 8th deadliest for distraction-affected driving. In 2020, it saw 1.6 deaths per billion miles driven that involved diverted attention behind the wheel.

Dangers of Texting While Driving

One of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving is texting behind the wheel. Let’s take a closer look at why this is so hazardous:

  • Takes Eyes Off the Road: Texting requires visually focusing on the phone screen instead of looking at the road. This greatly increases the chances of missing traffic signals, pedestrians, and other obstacles.
  • Hands Off the Wheel: Texting takes at least one hand, if not both, off the steering wheel. This reduces vehicle control.
  • Mind Off Driving: Composing or reading texts is a mental distraction that prevents drivers from fully focusing on the complex task of operating a moving vehicle.
  • Increases Crash Risk: Research shows that texting drivers have reaction times that are 35-40% slower than unimpaired drivers. This makes crashes much more likely.
  • Longer Glances Away: Texting drivers take glances away from the road that are 4-6 times longer than non-distracted drivers. This further increases accident risk.
  • Impairs Judgment: Studies show that drivers overestimate their ability to multitask. This gives texting drivers a false sense of confidence in their driving abilities.

Simply put, the visual, manual, and cognitive distractions involved make texting an incredibly dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

Texting While Driving: Destroying Lives in Illinois

The consequences of texting while driving in Illinois go far beyond tickets and fines. This irresponsible decision destroys lives each year:


  • Illinois has the sixth highest rate of distracted drivers in the United States.
  • In 2020 alone, 193 people in Illinois lost their lives in crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Many victims are completely innocent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists who did nothing wrong except cross paths with a distracted driver.

Catastrophic Injuries

  • Distracted driving crashes often cause severe injuries like brain damage, paralysis, disfigurement, and loss of limbs.
  • These life-altering injuries result in immense suffering and steep medical costs. Lifetime care can easily exceed $1 million per person.
  • Serious injuries also mean lost income and reduced quality of life for crash victims. Many can no longer work or care for their families.

Psychological Trauma

  • The trauma of a serious car crash can lead to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
  • Crash survivors frequently suffer from grief and guilt if others were killed or injured in the accident.
  • The financial stress of major injuries can also severely impact mental health and relationships.

Legal Consequences

  • Texting while driving in Illinois can lead to Class A misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
  • If the distracted driving incident involves reckless homicide, the driver faces a class two felony and 3-14 years in prison.
  • Lawsuits from crash victims can also lead to massive financial penalties in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

The bottom line: a brief moment of distraction behind the wheel can destroy multiple lives in the blink of an eye. No text message is worth this risk.

Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving in Illinois

It’s clear that distracted driving behaviors like texting must be avoided at all costs on Illinois roads. Here are some tips for drivers:

  • Put Down the Phone: Make a rule to keep your phone out of reach while driving. Silence notifications as well.
  • Adjust Settings Before Driving: If you must use the phone, adjust settings like maps and music before pulling out.
  • Use Apps to Curb Temptation: Apps like DriveMode block phone use when the car is moving.
  • Pull Over Safely: If you must call or text, pull over and park in a safe location first.
  • Speak Up as a Passenger: Kindly ask drivers not to use their phones if you feel uncomfortable. Offer to make the call for them.
  • Set an Example for Others: Children and teens observe our driving habits. Put the phone away to be a positive role model.

A moment of distraction behind the wheel can lead to a lifetime of consequences. We all must commit to focused driving to protect lives in Illinois.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

The dedicated injury attorneys at Monge & Associates fight for the rights of victims injured or impacted by distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a negligent texting driver in Illinois, contact our offices today.

We have 32 offices across 19 states, including Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska, and will work tirelessly to help you recover the maximum compensation. Call now on (888) 477-0597 to schedule a free consultation.