Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois
To reduce instances of distracting driving in Illinois, the state’s General Assembly prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic devices whenever an automobile is in motion. For instance, the act of texting and driving or reading and responding to email messages is illegal in the state. Additionally, drivers cannot hold a cell phone or another type of electronic device in their hand when operating a vehicle on public roads.
While texting or talking on the phone while driving is dangerous, many other types of distractions are just as harmful. For instance, other types of dangerous driving distractions in IL include grooming, tuning the radio, eating or drinking, smoking and interacting with other passengers from behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, motorists can prevent accidents by avoiding any visual, manual or cognitive distractions that may affect their ability to focus on the road ahead. To learn more about the hazards of driver distractedness, review the information below.
What is distracted driving in Illinois?
According to national distracted driving facts, inattentive motorists contribute to more than one million auto accidents each year. When motorists focus their visual, manual or cognitive abilities on an activity that does not pertain to the act of driving, they increase their chances of causing a traffic collision. For instance, engaging in any type of cell phone use while driving in IL, increases a driver’s chances of getting into an accident by 400 percent.
While most distracted driving laws in Illinois pertain to texting or talking on the phone, other types of distractions may not include the use of mobile electronic devices. For instance, the State of Illinois considers many other activities to be just as distractive. These activities include shaving, applying makeup, brushing hair, smoking cigarettes or inserting contact lenses. Other distractions may include operating a vehicle while tired or fatigued, arguing with other passengers or reaching for items in the vehicle’s glove compartment. Generally, attempting to multitask while operating a motor vehicle is a dangerous and often fatal behavior.
Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois for Handheld Devices
Under the Illinois distracted driving law, drivers cannot use a handheld electronic communications device when sitting behind the wheel of a moving motor vehicle. If motorists wish to talk on the phone while driving, then they must use Bluetooth technology or another type of hands-free device. However, the state prohibits the use of certain types of headsets whenever a vehicle is in motion. Drivers may only wear a single-sided earpiece or headset or a medically prescribed hearing aid, as any other type of headpiece is deemed distracting.
As an exception to these laws against distracted driving in IL, motorists may use a handheld mobile device in an emergency situation, or when a vehicle is pulled away from the road and stopped in a safe location. Additionally, motorists may use a handheld mobile device when they are stopped in traffic and the vehicle is shifted into park or neutral.
Texting and Driving Laws in Illinois
The act of texting while driving in IL is illegal. Additionally, the use of any handheld electronic communications device when a vehicle is in motion is prohibited under state law.
Illinois Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers
As part of the texting while driving laws in Illinois, drivers may only use a mobile device from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle if they do so using an acceptable form of hands-free technology. However, only drivers who are 19 years of age or older may use a hands-free device to talk on the phone. Novice drivers, such as those with a drivers license permit and any driver younger than 19 years of age, are prohibited from engaging in any type of cell phone activity while they are driving.
Illinois Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
The same texting and driving laws in IL pertain to commercial vehicle operators and drivers of passenger vehicles. In Illinois, no driver may read, write or send text messages from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers may only talk on the phone while using an acceptable type of hands-free component. If CDL operators violate this law, then they may be subject to a penalty fee of up to $2,750.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Illinois
While most distracted driving consequences in IL include penalty fees of between $100 and $150, punishments may be much more severe depending on the nature of the crime. For instance, first offenders generally need to pay a fine of $75, while drivers who violate the state’s law for the second time must pay $100. After the third or fourth distracted driving ticket, motorists must pay $125 or $150.
However, if a distracted driving accident results in the great bodily harm or death of another individual, then the consequences are much more severe. This type of violation is known as engaging in the aggravated use of a wireless telecommunication device. For instance, these consequences for distracted driving in IL include the following:
- If the violation results in a death, then the driver will be convicted of committing a Class 4 felony. Class 4 felonies generally result in a fine of up to $25,000 and/or between one and three years of imprisonment.
- If the violation results in great bodily harm, disfigurement or permanent disability, then the driver will be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors include a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to one year in prison.
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Illinois
Engaging in any type of driving distraction in Illinois is not only dangerous to the driver but also to other motorists on the road as well as pedestrians. However, motorists can prevent texting and driving accidents by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Eat or drink before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, as eating or drinking while driving can be distracting
- Pull the vehicle over to make phone calls, respond to emails or send text messages
- Use speed dial if a phone call needs to be made
- Adjust the vehicle’s seats, sound system and climate controls before pulling the automobile onto a public road
- Avoid any type of activity that requires the use of a driver’s visual, manual or cognitive abilities, such as grooming or applying makeup
- Secure children and pets near the back of the vehicle and avoid handling them while the vehicle is in motion