Oak Park is taking aim at drivers distracted by dining while driving. Car accidents, crullers and coffee are a bad combination in any city but Oak Park is fed-up. While the proposed ban includes many forms of distracted driving – from hand-held cellphones to grooming to texting while driving – eating seems to be the most controversial. Oak Park Trustee Ray Johnson was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying that he was cautious in considering tickets for eating. Although he supports a texting ban, he said too many things can distract a driver such as changing a CD, reaching for a drink or adjusting the volume on the radio- designating food would be difficult-a handful, a whole sandwich or just fries? A lot has to do with circumstances, a driver’s abilities, weather conditions and the other drivers. Who is to judge when changing the radio station or eating a candy bar was an irresponsible act and the cause of a motor vehicle accident… or just a coincidence?
The issue of distracted driving, especially what constitutes a distraction, continues to gain momentum nationally. In the past two years, the number of states that ban texting while driving has more than tripled, including Illinois. Ten states and the District of Columbia have outlawed hand-held cellphone use while driving.
Six years ago, Chicago banned motorists from making cell calls without an earpiece or other hands-free device, then added a prohibition on texting while driving. In 2009, the Chicago Transit Authority cracked down on bus and train operators who use or even carry personal cellphones while working. The campaign against distracted driving has extended to distracted biking through a proposed City of Chicago ordinance which would ticket bikers texting while pedaling.
If Oak Park is successful in banning eating while driving, it will be one of the first in the country. A proposed 2006 Winnetka ordinance banned the operation of a radio or game, tending to pets, grooming and eating and drinking, along with talking on the phone (we guess texting wasn’t as prevalent at the time). Highland Park allows police to cite a motorist for inattentive driving….for whatever…..if that driver is pulled over for another violation.
For over 25 years, Grazian and Volpe has advocated on behalf of victims injured in motor vehicle accidents. For over 25 years, we have never been bored. Distracted driving is the latest “distraction” and a very serious one at that. It is tragic when there is a wrongful death or serious injury caused by a preventable accident. However, no matter what rules and regulations are proposed by any City, State or Government, it is up to the public to exercise good judgement and safe practices whenever they are on a bike, motor or otherwise or behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Common sense dictates that any activity which distracts you from the road and the task of staying safe, even for a second, should be avoided-risking a ticket is the least of your potential injuries.
Personal injury attorneys make money when people are injured through careless and reckless acts. However, there will always be enough idiots doing reckless things to assure our livlihoods. Grazian and Volpe prefers that you stay safe by stayin smart. Please follow us on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning, LinkedIn and at myaccidentlaw.com/blog where we hope to keep our clients and followers educated on how to stay safe and protect their rights. Remember, if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Personal and Worker’s Injury for over 25 years.