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Keeping roads safe with new texting and driving laws

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2019 | Traffic Violations

Distracted driving accounts for all too many car accidents. And sitting right in your pocket or the cup holder in your car is one of the biggest distractions — your cell phone. Even a seconds-long glance down at your phone can have catastrophic consequences.

Texting and driving now considered a moving violation

Illinois lawmakers have tightened the reigns on phone use while driving in an effort to minimize distracted driving and the consequences it can have.

Before August 2019, the use of cell phones while driving was still illegal in the state of Illinois. However, the law did not classify these instances as moving violations, making the penalties less harsh. Now, using a non-hands-free device while driving can result in fines for the driver:

  • $75 for a first offense
  • $100 for a second offense
  • $125 for a third offense
  • $150 for a fourth offense

Additionally, any driver who receives three moving violations within the span of a year will get their driver’s license suspended.

Greater consequences result in greater penalties

Unfortunately, cell phone use while driving can lead to serious injury, and sometimes even death. Each day, distracted driving accounts for more than 1,000 injuries. And the penalties for causing bodily harm will now result in harsher penalties for the driver.

Along with the new moving violation fines, drivers who cause injury because of cell phone use will now face what law enforcement calls aggravated use of an electronic communication device charges. Incidents that result in injury, permanent disability or disfigurement fall under a Class A misdemeanor charge. In the unfortunate event of death, the driver will face Class 4 felony charges.

Improving road safety

Although the consequences of using your cell phone while driving may seem harsh, its nothing compared to the price that a serious car accident might cost you. These laws are in place not to scare Illinois drivers, but to make roads a safer place for all who share them.