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New Illinois Law Bans Video Conferencing Behind the Wheel

Man video conferencing on smartphone in car.

Video Conferencing Zoomers Are Causing Car Crashes

Video conferencing has become so common that the terms "Zoom" and "Facetime" are used as verbs. These platforms are now a part of everyday life. During the pandemic, many companies used video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, FaceTime, Teams, and WebEx, to facilitate the shift away from working in the office to working from home. Even though the pandemic has subsided, work-from-home and video conferencing are still popular. However, some multi-taskers are pushing the range of what this tech can do past the limits of safety.

Amazingly, drivers have been doing video conference calls while driving. Sometimes called Zoom Zombies, this type of distracted driving is contributing to the rise in seriousĀ car accidents in Illinois and across the U.S.

Illinois Bans Video Conferencing For Drivers

While some states grapple with the issue, Illinois moved forward with legislation to stop motor vehicle operators from attending work meetings via video while driving. In Illinois, a new traffic law went into effect this month that bans drivers from video conferencing while operating motor vehicles. This amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code explicitly forbids using an electronic communication device to participate in a video conference.

"Illinois has been a leader in cracking down on distracted driving, but we need to remain vigilant and continue to refine our laws as new technologies emerge," State Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. said. "Drivers who Zoom, watch videos or are otherwise engaged in distracted driving aren't just annoying but pose a serious threat to other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, first responders and construction workers."

On average, distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people nationwide each year. That's about eight fatalities per day, according to the National Safety Council. While it is unclear how many of these fatal crashes are specifically caused by people on video calls, measures to reduce preventable car accidents should be embraced. Even when distracted driving accidents are not fatal, the results are frequently severe.

A Zoom Meeting Isn't Worth Someone Else's Life

There are many types of severe and fatal injuries a driver on a video conference call could cause in the event of a collision. This is due to the force of impact in such crashes. In other types of motor vehicle collisions, the at-fault driver typically attempts to avoid the crash by hitting the brakes or swerving out of the way. Although they may be unsuccessful in preventing a collision, a negligent driver's attempts to slow down and avoid damage can help reduce crash severity. However, in a distracted driving crash, this is usually not the case. The distracted driver rarely realizes what is happening before the impact, and there is often no attempt to slow the vehicle to avoid a collision.

The type of injuries a person sustains in such a crash are influenced by whether they are on foot, on a bicycle, or in a vehicle. Common types of distracted driving accident injuries include:

  • For cyclists and pedestrians - Neck injuries and disc fractures; concussions; TBIs; paralysis; nerve damage; dislocated joints in the knee, shoulder, and hip; bone fractures; lacerations; and friction or heat burns.
  • For vehicle occupants - Spinal Cord Injuries; TBIs; whiplash; bone fractures in the arms, shoulder, and legs; and internal organ damage.

Chicago Crash Victims Can Count on Keating

The face-to-face communication provided by Zoom and other video conferencing services is required in some industries and businesses. Yet, nothing is worth driving distracted, especially when hands-free phone calls have been available for decades.

If you were injured in a car crash with a distracted driver, contact Keating Law Offices, P.C. for a free case evaluation. Our experienced car accident lawyers proudly serve Chicago, the suburbs, and downstate. Keating Law is a leader in transportation negligence cases and our extensive experience in successfully handling distracted driver claims and lawsuits across Illinois positions us to help anyone who needs our legal help. A member of our team is available 24/7 to hear from you via email, text, chat, or phone at your convenience. If necessary, we can even come to you for an in-person meeting.

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