What are Some Illinois Distracted Driving Laws?

car accidentDistracted driving contributes to thousands of auto accidents and injuries every year, in Illinois and throughout the country, and in recent years the law has changed to punish distracted drivers. Use of a mobile device while driving can also serve as evidence of negligence or recklessness in a personal injury claim. If you are injured in an auto accident in Chicago, your first step (after seeking medical attention) should be to contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer. Keep reading for details about what the state of Illinois prohibits while you’re behind the wheel.

Cell Phone Use While Driving

On January 1, 2014, it became illegal to use handheld devices while driving in Illinois. The primary exception is that it is legal to use hands-free technology such as speakerphones, Bluetooth, and headsets while driving, though even that is not always legal. All cell phone use is prohibited in the following situations:

  • While you are driving in a school zone.
  • While you are driving in a highway construction zone.
  • If you are a novice driver.

Texting While Driving

625 ILCS 5/12-610.2 states that, “A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.” This prohibits writing, reading, and sending messages not only with cell phones, but also with PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and portable computers. In addition to text messages, the law covers email, instant messages, and commands to access internet sites. This law does not prohibit the use of GPS and navigation systems.

The only situations in which it is legal to send text messages while driving in Illinois are:

  • If you are using your device in hands-free or voice-activated mode.
  • If you are parked on the shoulder of the road.
  • If you are stopped in traffic and the vehicle is in park or neutral.
  • If you are reporting an emergency, or if you are texting to remain in contact with emergency personnel in an emergency.

What is the Punishment for Distracted Driving?

Violating this law results in a fine of at least $75, but the more important thing is the fact that distracted driving can lead to auto accidents and thus to a personal injury. If you have been hurt in a collision with a distracted driver in Chicago, you should contact an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Rubens and Kress can Help After an Auto Accident

If you are looking a Chicago personal injury lawyer following an auto accident, contact Rubens and Kress. We charge no fee unless you collect, so you can be confident that we will fight hard on your behalf. To explore your legal options, contact Rubens and Kress online, at (312) 201-9640, or toll-free at (866) 890-9640.