Starting July 1st, Illinois is taking a tougher stance on motorists who use their cell phones while driving.
Drivers will no longer get a free pass for their first offense. Unlike the current law, where a first offense is a non-moving violation which does not affect your driving record, under the new law, you will get you a ticket for a moving violation if you are caught using a hand-held cell phone for any reason, even if it’s your first time. The ticket will have a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $125 for a third, however, this does not include fees and costs which can make the total much higher. Receiving three tickets in a 12 month period will mean a license suspension.
According to the new law, you are only allowed to push one button to activate GPS or answer or make a call. So, unless you are using technology such as Bluetooth to access your phone hands-free, the following offenses will get you a ticket:
- Any talking, texting, or tweeting on your hand-held phone;
- Looking at Facebook, Instagram, photos or emails on your phone;
- Getting directions from the GPS while holding your phone;
- Choosing songs from iTunes or a playlist on your phone;
- Using Apps on your cell phone;
- Watching videos on YouTube or Tik Tok;
- Using the phone at a stoplight or stop sign; and
- Using the phone while stuck in traffic.
There is one other important provision for teens and parents of teens to know:
- If you are younger than 18, you cannot use Bluetooth or hands-free, either.
The only exceptions to the law are: using the phone to report an emergency or using the phone when your car is in park because regular traffic has been stopped by an obstruction.
In other words, Illinois wants you to stop talking, texting, tweeting, posting, downloading, reading, or doing anything else while holding your phone in the car. The reason for this is clear: distracted driving causes accidents. In 2017 alone, 67 fatal accidents involving distracted driving occurred. No text or call is worth that.
The bottom line is this: there is no reason to use your phone while driving, especially when most of us know it’s hazardous. According to AAA, 97% of drivers know that texting or emailing while driving is dangerous, but 35% do it anyway. If you simply must make or receive a call, pull over to a safe place, put your car in park, and use the phone. The life you save may be your own.
At The Collins Law Firm, we see too many people injured by distracted drivers, so it is our hope that this change to the law will help prevent future accidents. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, call our car accident attorneys at 630-527-1595 for more information or a free evaluation of your case.