DWT is Just as Dangerous as DUI

On December 16, 2009, in Auto Accident, Motorcycle Accident, Personal Injury, by K. Lindsay Rakers

Let’s think about it. Why are there laws in place preventing motorists from driving while intoxicated? Is it because the lawmakers don’t want us to have any fun? Hardly. The DUI (Illinois) and DWI (Missouri) laws exist to protect us. It is a proven fact that intoxicated drivers are not able to quickly react or keep a proper lookout on the roadway. Intoxicated drivers are distracted and distraction leads to accidents. Similarly, a motorist looking at his phone instead of the roadway is distracted. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous to both the driver and other motorists on the roadway.

The State of Illinois finally got something right. Effective January 1, 2010, drivers are no longer allowed to “compose, send, or read an electronic message”. The new statute is codified at 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2. While DWT seems to imply only texting is banned, the actual legislation makes it clear that any electronic messaging, including emailing, is not permitted. The definition excludes navigation and GPS devices that are electronically integrated into the vehicle. Further, law enforcement officials are excepted as are motorists using hands-free devices.

Some opponents of the new law think it is overregulation. These groups argue that reckless driving laws cover such carelessness. Proponents have pointed out that specific laws, in the past, have helped with driver safety. Seatbelts did not used to be required but now, laws are in effect requiring drivers to wear seatbelts. This seatbelt law has drastically increased seatbelt use as well as safety.

As Missouri and Illinois injury attorneys, we handle automobile, motorcycle, pedestrian and trucking accidents occurring as a result of distraction, inattentiveness and other carelessness. If you have been injured, contact a St. Louis injury attorney at 1-800-517-0602.


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