The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Drivers on Cell Phones Cause 1,357 Crashes in IL

By Margaret Lyons in News on Aug 11, 2008 4:42PM the last year in Illinois, cell phone use was listed as the primary or secondary cause of 1,357 crashes, in which eight people died and 351 were injured. IDOT says these numbers are probably low, given that not all law enforcement officers fill out crash reports as thoroughly as they're supposed to.

The state-commissioned Distracted Drivers Task Force filed a report in June enumerating the dangers of...not concentrating while behind the wheel. According to that report, "Dialing a hand held device increases a driver’s chance of being involved in a vehicle crash by three...times and listening or talking on a hand held device increases a driver’s risk by 1.3 times. Reaching for a moving object while driving increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by 9 times; looking at an external object while driving by 3.7 times; reading while driving by 3 times; applying make-up while driving by 3 times."

So cell phones are just the most common, but not the most actually dangerous, distraction. According to the Trib, of the 1,357 cell-involved crashes, 442 resulted from drivers failing to reduce speed, 104 from drivers disregarding traffic signs, and 6 from driving the wrong way or on the wrong side of the street. [Full report, Trib, photo by Rebecca Anne]