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Illinois laws about texting and driving

Illinois strengthened its texting and driving laws in July 2019. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers are about six times more likely to have a serious accident than drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Law enforcement can now stop drivers who are using an electronic device as a primary moving violation.

Legal prohibitions

Motorists may not use a handheld electronic device such as a smartphone in any way while operating a vehicle. The law also covers personal digital assistance, tablets and laptops. Prohibited actions include using these devices to play music, navigate, or send and receive emails or text messages.

The law does not apply to drivers using their devices to contact first responders in an emergency. It also does not apply when a driver has safely parked on the side of the road. However, the car must be in neutral or park in this situation.

Illinois permits drivers to use voice commands with Bluetooth integrated devices. This type of technology must allow for hands-free use of the device.

Penalties

Drivers will receive a $75 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $125 for the third offense. After three moving violations in 12 months, a motorist will receive a 12-month license suspension. Before the 2019 amendment to the Illinois cell phone law, drivers received a warning for the first distracted driving offense.

Drivers who travel on Illinois roads should be familiar with these provisions of the state’s distracted driving laws to avoid catastrophic auto accident injuries.

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