Over 3,000 lives were lost in 2020 due to distracted driving. Every distracted driving death or injury is a needless tragedy—100% of these car accidents are preventable.
As in most states, the texting and driving laws in Illinois seek to address one of the biggest distractions drivers face in today’s world: cell phones.
Illinois Texting and Driving Laws
Below is a summary of texting and driving laws in Illinois that all drivers need to know:
- Texting while operating a motor vehicle is banned for all drivers.
- The use of hand-held cell phones or other mobile devices while driving is illegal.
- Drivers over the age of 19 may use hands-free devices while driving.
- Drivers 18 and under may not use any mobile devices, even hands-free, while driving.
- Drivers of all ages are prohibited from using any device (even hands-free) when driving in school zones, construction zones, or within 500 feet of an emergency scene.
- Bus drivers may not use any cell phone or mobile device, even hands-free.
The only circumstances under which it is legal to use a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle in Illinois are when:
- You need to report an emergency.
- You are pulled over safely, and the vehicle is stopped.
- There is a traffic obstruction, and your vehicle is in park or neutral gear.
- You are a law enforcement officer or first responder, and you need to use a mobile device for job-related duties.
- You are a commercial driver, and you are using it for job duties within the legal restrictions.
As a driver in Illinois, you are allowed to use your cell phone for GPS and navigation purposes if the phone is mounted on the dashboard or elsewhere in the vehicle and you only touch the phone to turn it on and off.
Remember, any cell phone use is a distraction behind the wheel.
Talking on the phone using a Bluetooth earpiece may not be a manual distraction, but it is certainly a mental distraction. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State highly recommends that all drivers pull off the road and park in a safe location before making a phone call, even one using hands-free technology.
If a driver who causes an accident is found to be in violation of the texting and driving laws in Illinois, they may face criminal charges. Penalties for violating Illinois texting and driving laws can be as serious as fines or jail time. But these criminal penalties are nothing compared to the consequences of killing or injuring another person by reading a text message.
What Is the Fine for Texting and Driving in Illinois?
The fine schedule for texting and driving in Illinois is as follows:
- First offense: $75 fine
- Second offense: $100 fine
- Third offense: $125 fine
- Fourth and future offenses: $150 fine
If a driver is distracted and causes an accident that injures another person, they will face an additional penalty of a $1,000 fine and a one-year license suspension.
Breaking a texting and driving law in Illinois is a primary offense. This means a law enforcement officer can pull you over and give you a citation if they see you breaking this law. The police officer does not need another reason (such as speeding or suspected drunk driving) to pull you over.
Why Texting and Driving Is So Dangerous
Texting, browsing social media, and video calling were unheard of dangers a few decades ago. Now, they are collectively one of the top causes of motorist and pedestrian death in the United States.
The benefits that mobile devices have provided our society are too numerous to mention. But there is simply no place for a cell phone behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
These are only a few of the facts and statistics that show us why texting and driving is so dangerous:
- The risk of being in an accident while using a cell phone is comparable to the risk of driving with a BAC of 08.
- Nine people are killed every day in the U.S. by distracted drivers.
- The risk of a car accident is up to six times greater when the driver is handling a cell phone.
- Reading a text message at 55 mph is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
How Do I Know if the Other Driver Was Texting and Driving?
If you were struck by a driver you suspect may have been texting and driving, it’s important to partner with an experienced attorney who can help investigate your case. Proving that a driver broke texting and driving laws in Illinois is not easy.
While investigating your case, your legal representative may need to analyze sources of evidence like:
- The police report of the accident
- Any citations issued at the scene of the crash
- Traffic camera footage
- The driver’s cell phone records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Dashcam footage
- Photos and physical evidence of damage to vehicles and surrounding property
- Expert witness testimony, such as from a traffic reconstruction expert
Get Justice After a Distracted Driving Accident in Illinois
Violating texting and driving laws in Illinois has serious repercussions. Each time a person decides to send or read a text message behind the wheel, they risk their own life and the lives of others.
If you were injured by a negligent motorist in Marion, Illinois law gives you the right to seek financial and emotional recovery. A personal injury claim filed against the distracted driver can help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and more. It can also discourage that driver (and others) from ever making such a reckless decision again. A distracted driving claim sends a powerful message that such negligent, dangerous behaviors won’t be tolerated in our community.
If you have questions about a car accident in which you or a loved one were involved, contact Prince Law Firm in Marion, IL for a free consultation. We’ll review the details of your case and help you determine your legal options. A free case evaluation does not obligate you to hire Prince Law Firm to handle your case.
Contact us now to set up your free and confidential consultation with a distracted driving accident attorney.