NEWSFLASH: NO MORE FREE PASSES FOR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING!
Authors: Alex W. Norlander, Esquire and Elizabeth W. James
Five years ago, Illinois enacted a law banning the use of cell phones while driving without a hands-free device. Despite the law, there has been an increase in the number of distracted-driving related fatalities in Illinois. In order to combat this problem, the law has been amended to provide for tougher penalties on violators. Starting on July 1, 2019, drivers will be issued moving violations rather than warning tickets. Additionally, drivers will be fined increased amounts for multiple violations.
The current law encompasses much more than just texting while driving. It is illegal for drivers to hold their phone for calls, directions, or other tasks. Cell phone use at stop signs, red lights, or in traffic is also strictly prohibited. The law applies not only to cell phones, but also laptops, tablets, and other mobile communication devices.
To avoid violating the law, drivers are permitted to use their phones in hands-free mode. The law also carves out certain exceptions relating to emergencies. Be aware that the next time you illegally use your cell phone while driving, you will be subject to the new stricter penalties.
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