Woman driving distracted by cellphone.

Distracted Driving: Can You Prove it in an Accident Claim?

Distracted driving accidents are sadly a huge problem in today’s technology-dependent world. Recent state data shows that out of a yearly total of 295,888 motor vehicle crashes approximately 3.6 percent involved distracted driving.

If you have been in an accident that you think involved distracted driving, how do you prove it? It can be challenging but it is definitely not impossible. Evidence like phone records, eyewitness testimonies, or dashboard camera footage can help establish a driver’s distraction. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate this potentially complex process.

What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

Anyone who has been behind the wheel of a car knows that safe driving requires your complete and total attention. Distracted driving is any behavior that takes your attention from driving. This includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to other passengers, adjusting the temperature, looking at the GPS, or picking up an item that slid between the seats. Basically, anything that diverts your attention away from safe driving is to be avoided.

Illinois has strict laws against distracted driving. Texting is illegal for all drivers, which includes emailing and similar communications, and the use of handheld cell phones. Cell phones, both handheld and hands-free, are banned for new drivers. Illinois also bans the use of cell phones while driving in school and construction zones. Those who violate cell phone and texting laws will face stringent penalties.

How to Prove Distracted Driving

There are several ways to go about proving that an accident was caused by distracted driving. Find any available witnesses to the accident and get their statements. They could prove to be crucial in establishing the distracted behavior of the at-fault driver. Next, get a copy of the official police report of the accident. It may include details about any citations issued to the other driver, which can be useful in your claim.

If you think the at-fault driver was using their phone at the time of the accident, try to obtain their cell phone records. Check for any nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident. Businesses, traffic cameras, or even residential security cameras could potentially provide valuable footage.

Dashboard cameras, or dashcams, can also potentially be used as evidence to prove distracted driving in Illinois. They may capture real-time footage of the road and can be valuable in providing visual evidence of the time leading up to the accident.  In addition, the timestamp on the dashcam footage can help establish the timeline of events. 

It is important to make sure that any use of a dashcam complies with Illinois law. You are generally allowed to use a dashcam for personal use, but there could be a prohibition on recording audio conversations without one’s consent. So, make sure your use of the dashcam adheres to privacy laws. It’s also smart to save the relevant footage and make backups, as it may be needed for insurance claims or legal proceedings.

Call an Attorney with Distracted Driving Questions

If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, consider consulting with the skilled car accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman LLC who specialize in personal injury and traffic law. We will steer you through the legal process and help you build a strong case. Although distracted driving seems like a tough thing to prove, a skilled attorney will know how to go about it effectively.