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Are Children as Distracting as Electronic Devices?

 Posted on June 06, 2024 in Accident Liability

Lake County, IL car crash lawyerAs millions of Americans get behind the wheel of their vehicles each day to run errands and travel to work and school, distracted driving becomes a greater factor in car accidents. While mobile devices remain the primary cause of distracted driving accidents, transporting children can also bring major distractions.

Most adults have learned to ignore text messages and emails while driving, but ignoring a fussy or distressed child can be challenging. Parents routinely turn around to pick up a dropped bottle or toy, comfort a baby, or referee an argument between children. Following a distracted driving accident, an experienced Illinois lawyer will protect your rights and your future. 

What Are the Three Types of Driving Distractions?

There are three types of driving distractions: cognitive, visual, and manual. Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off the road to fiddle with the car controls, set your GPS, read a text - or turn around to pick up a dropped sippy cup. 

Manual distractions occur when you take your hand or hands off the wheel to eat or drink, answer your cell phone, or try to prevent a child from unbuckling his or her car seat.

Cognitive distractions occur when your mind is somewhere other than on the road. Perhaps you are thinking about what you will cook for dinner, going over a work issue in your mind, or simply daydreaming. Dealing with children can often involve all three forms of distraction.

When your toddler grabs the baby’s pacifier and you turn around to return the pacifier to its rightful owner while offering the toddler a cracker, all three types of distractions are in play. Your hand is off the wheel, your eyes are off the road, and your mind is on the interaction between the children. As you might imagine, this is a dangerous combination.  A survey by the NHTSA found that at least 42 percent of adult drivers had interacted with a child in the back seat while driving.

How Do Children Cause Car Accidents?

Illinois law prohibits using hand-held cell phones and texting while operating a motor vehicle. Other distractions may not be illegal but could be just as dangerous. What causes parents to throw caution to the wind and tend to the needs of their children while driving? Aside from being a basic instinct, most parents feel that if they deal with the issue immediately, they can return their focus to the road. The primary causes of parents taking their attention from the road include:   

  • Providing entertainment, including toys, music, tablets with games, and movies

  • Handing out food and drinks, including bottles, sippy cups, and juice boxes

  • Soothing crying babies or calming toddler  

  • Dealing with sibling interactions that are less than friendly

Once children are old enough to manage their drinks and snacks and plug themselves into their chosen entertainment format, driver distractions usually decrease significantly.

How To Minimize Child-Related Distractions

Most parents would probably agree that toddlers are the most distracting passengers. Here are some tips for minimizing driving distractions from these small, yet demanding passengers.

  • Keep drinks and snacks accessible  

  • Have “backup” bottles and sippy cups  

  • Charge electronic devices

  • Attach electronic devices to the back of the front seat

  • Secure children in a properly installed car seats

  • Pull off the road to deal with tantrums

Contact a Lake County, IL Car Accident Attorney

Our multi-tasking society almost guarantees that distracted driving accidents will continue to increase. If you are the victim of a distracted driving accident and struggling with your injuries and financial damages, a Waukegan, Illinois car accident lawyer can help. 

It may be difficult to prove the other driver was distracted and that distraction was responsible for the accident. With more than 85 years of combined experience, Salvi & Maher can help gather evidence, prove liability, and pursue a full settlement on your behalf. Call Salvi & Maher, LLP at 847-662-3303 today for a free consultation.   

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Contact a Lake County Vehicle Accident Attorney Who is Ready to Help You

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office. Call 847-662-3303 to set up a free initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations. There is no risk because we only collect fees if you collect compensation. With offices in Libertyville, Waukegan, Richmond, and Chicago, we represent clients in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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