Illinois’ law banning driving and texting is now five years outdated, and drivers caught violating it can face a stiffer penalty as of July 1.
Scofflaws who text, talk, or use any hand-held devices behind the wheel will obtain a ticket for a moving violation. Three moving violations in a 12-month interval will result in a license suspension.
Lawmakers tightened the regulation in 2018, removing a provision giving first-time offenders a free pass.
The stricter stance reverts to what Secretary of State Jesse White “wanted within the original bill, and it was negotiated down,” spokesman Dave Druker stated. “There was loads of feeling it was a little harsh.”
Being kind, nevertheless, wasn’t working, authorities discovered. White and Illinois State Police “felt it wasn’t making a dent,” stated Elgin Democratic Sen. Christina Castro, who sponsored the change.
After all, readers of this column understand how the law works. However, if you wish to give friends a refresher, remind them it is illegal to make use of a hand-held iPhone, Galaxy, or any machine while driving.
Meaning no texting, talking, accessing the maps app and so on, except with hands-free smartphone technology such as Bluetooth.
Drivers can pull over on the shoulder, put the car in park and use their devices. Exceptions to the regulation include reporting an emergency, and if normal traffic is stopped due to an obstruction such as an accident or train — and the car is parked.
Nationwide, there were 2,923 distracted-driving-related crashes in 2013 in comparison with 2,935 in 2017, following an April National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research.
In Illinois, 67 deadly crashes involving a distracted driver occurred in 2017, which is greater than the five-year average of 48. Overall, Illinois crashes totaled 12,930 in 2017, though the standard was 12,492.
AAA discovered in 2018 that 97% of drivers assume texting or emailing while operating a car is harmful. However, 35% admitted to doing it anyway.
And simply because hands-free systems are allowed, it doesn’t mean they’re safe. Experts warn that mental distraction is also dangerous.
Common sense is vital, Kushner stated. “We will not fix stupid. We can give it a court date.”