There’s been a campaign in Illinois and around the country of late decrying the dangers of distracted driving. Many statistics show that distracted driving is a substantial factor in auto accidents. It’s especially problematic for teenagers, who often have short attention spans anyway, are more likely to text and talk on mobile phones, and are not skilled in ignoring distractions while behind the wheel.
This appeared to be the case in an injury crash last month in Iroquois County. On the afternoon of Thursday, December 19 shortly before 3:30pm, a 16-year old boy from Sheldon was driving a 1998 Mazda north on Illinois Route 1 a few miles north of Milford and about eight miles west of the Indiana border. Near the intersection of County Road 1200 North, a teen was reportedly distracted while his car crossed the center line. It struck a southbound 15-passenger bus driven by a 79-year old Watseka man, and the bus careened into the ditch. The car then veered out of control and struck a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck before driving into the ditch as well.
The teen, the bus driver, and the 48-year old Indiana man driving the pickup all had to be transported to a nearby hospital due their injuries, as were two passengers on the bus: a 43-year old woman and a 41-year old woman. The boy was later cited by police for improper lane usage.
It’s almost certain that the 16-year old will be held solely responsible for the auto accident. That means that the driver of the pickup and the two passengers on the bus have solid grounds to file personal injury lawsuit against the teen’s parents, since minors cannot be named as defendants in civil lawsuits in Illinois. (The bus driver’s medical costs and lost wages will likely be covered by his employer’s insurance policy.)