Recently, a teenager in Illinois pleaded not guilty to charges she is facing after killing a cyclist in a distracted driving-related collision.

According to the Chicago Tribune, at the end of the summer of 2014, a 17-year-old girl in Illinois struck a man riding his bicycle while driving and the cyclist died a few weeks later. While authorities believe that she was texting and driving at the time of the collision, the teenager recently pleaded not guilty to the charge of aggravated use of an electronic device made against her. This charge, which is classified as a Class 4 felony, carries a potential prison sentence of one to three years with the option of probation.

Distracted driving laws in Illinois

To prevent fatal accidents like this one, Illinois has enacted several distracted driving laws that pertain to teenagers, bus drivers and adults. According to Distraction.gov, some of the primary laws the state of Illinois has in place related to distracted driving include the following:

  • Bus drivers are prohibited from using a cellphone behind the wheel, regardless of whether the device is handheld or hands-free.
  • It is illegal for all drivers in the state to text and drive or use a handheld device while their vehicle is in motion.
  • Novice drivers are not allowed to use handheld or hands-free devices while operating a vehicle.

Additionally, drivers are not allowed to use their cellphones while they are driving through a school zone or through a construction zone on the highway.

Why do drivers still text and drive?

Even though laws like this exist in Illinois and many drivers recognize that the risk of causing a serious car accident dramatically increases when they text and drive, drivers continue to participate in this hazardous activity anyway. According to a recent survey conducted by AT&T, which discovered that 98 percent of drivers know that texting and driving is dangerous, there are several reasons why drivers still text and drive.

In this survey, more than a quarter of the texting drivers reported that they still texted behind the wheel because they believed that their driving performance is not affected by texting and driving while just as many responded that they did so because they believe that others expect them to respond to text messages right away. Some of the other reasons cited by the participating drivers relating to why they continue to text and drive included an addiction to texting and driving, a desire to stay connected to friends, family members and co-workers and the belief that they will miss out on something important if they don't text back.

Seeking compensation

Drivers, passengers and pedestrians in Illinois who are involved in a collision caused by a distracted driver may sustain injuries that cause them emotional, physical and financial harm. If you were injured in a car accident, speak with an attorney to determine what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: distracted, driving, accident, injury