What You Should Know About the New Illinois Cell Phone Law
We all know it’s not safe to drive while we’re distracted, especially when using our phones. The Illinois state police report that using a cell phone on the road increases your chance of an accident by 400%, and drivers who text while they drive are 23 times more likely to crash.
In order to reduce the number of distracted-driving related crashes, there is a new Illinois distracted driving law.
The cell phone law, which primarily focuses on the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, went into effect in the summer of 2019. Here’s an overview of the new Illinois cell phone law established in 2019 and what you need to know about distracted driving in our state.
The Details of Illinois New Distracted Driving Law
Under House Bill 4846, drivers using a handheld mobile device on the road will be subject to a moving violation, even as a first-time offense. The new bill took effect in July of 2019. The fine for a first-time offense is $75 and goes up $25 for each subsequent offense.
Also, a driver who causes a crash because of their distracted driving could be looking at criminal penalties, up to and including jail time. Governor Pritzker signed a bill on July 19th, 2019 that raises the first-offense penalty to a Class A misdemeanors carrying a fine up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail if the distracted driving results in an accident with serious bodily harm, according to Illinois Public Media. If death results from the accident it is a Class 4 felony with a penalty of 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
Exceptions to the Illinois Cell Phone Law
The penalties of Illinois distracted driving laws are severe, and for good reason. However, there are some exceptions to the new Illinois cell phone law.
Illinois distracted driving law offers certain exceptions for drivers, when they may use a handheld device on the road:
- To report an emergency situation;
- While parked on the shoulder of a roadway; or
- While stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the vehicle is in neutral or park.
Although you may attract law enforcement during these situations, you should be able to drive away penalty-free.
Were You in a Distracted Driving Accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017 alone, distracted driving took the lives of more than 3,100 people. So, although these new rules may seem harsh to some, they are meant to protect drivers and pedestrians.
If you or your loved one was the victim of a distracted driving accident, we recommend contacting a personal injury attorney. You may be able to receive a personal injury settlement for injuries and property damage from an accident that wasn’t your fault. The new Illinois cell phone law was put in place to protect people like you, and we can leverage it to build your case.
Contact VanDerGinst Law today to schedule a free, no-committment consultation.
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