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What To Know About Texting and Driving in Illinois

Everyone should know that cell phones contribute to distracted driving. Texting and driving have become a problem that Illinois hopes to eradicate by imposing strict punishments on those who are caught. Previously a driver would receive a warning ticket for their offense of using an electronic device while driving. Under a recent law, cops will issue a moving violation.

Texting and Driving Data

Far too many Americans use their phones while the car is in “drive.” A study by Volvo found that the actual number is 71%. That same study found that younger drivers are less likely than their parents to use their phones while on the road. That puts it at one in five people admit to texting while driving.

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. 25% of police-reported collisions involve drivers using their cellphones and that texting while driving is more dangerous than impaired driving. Mindy Carroll, an Illinois State Police spokeswoman, said that “State police issued 15,150 citations for distracted driving in 2019.”

House Bill 4846

According to Ben Szalinski, “House Bill 4846, which took effect July 1, will count first-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device as a “moving violation.” Under state law, moving violations appear on motorists’ driving record, and drivers who receive three moving violations in a year see their driver’s license suspended.” The first time ticket will also include a $75 fine. After that, the fine increases to $100, $125, and $150 up to the 4th offense. Illinois law states that if a driver receives three moving violations in 365 days, their license will be suspended.

The new law does not apply to (Anderson, 2019):

  • A law enforcement officer or operator of an emergency vehicle performing official duties
  • A driver using an electronic device to report an emergency
  • A driver using a phone in hands-free mode, which can include the use of a headset or headphones
  • A driver using an electronic device while parked on the shoulder of a roadway

Tips to Stay Off the Phone

Here a few tips for staying off your phone while you are driving. First, turn your cell phone on silent or Do Not Disturb. A lot of the times, we feel compelled to look at it because it dings at us. There are also apps that you can download that prevent you from texting while driving. You could also get a hands free device, or use the Bluetooth ones built into newer cars. Lastly, you could always turn it off and stash it in the glove box until you get where you are going. There is nothing that important that can’t wait a few minutes. If you have to use your phone, then pull over safely and do so. With the new law, the risk to your driving privileges is not worth it. However, lives are worth it, and staying off our phones saves lives. Whose lives will you save by staying off your phone?

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