No More Warnings for Texting and Driving for Illinois
A new Illinois texting and driving law enacted on July 1st calls for stricter penalties for anyone caught texting at the wheel.
Former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed house bill 4868 into law August 2018, and current Governor J.B. Pritzker recently added an amendment, stating:
“If anyone texting and driving causes an accident resulting in injury, the driver’s liscence will be suspended or revoked for one year. There are also potential for a $1,000 minimum fine.”
The original language of the law says a first time offender of texting and driving will be charged with a moving violation. In Illinois, a driver who racks up three moving violations will receive a license suspension.
All Mobile Devices Count as Distracted Driving
Even though the target of the bill is texting and driving, violations can stem from a driver using any handheld mobile device while the car is in “drive.” These gadgets include:
Though a modern smartphone can do all of those tasks, Illinois lawmakers wanted to remove any loopholes for distracted driving. Statistics indicate any mobile distracted driving increases the likelihood of an accident by 230 percent. Those numbers validate the oft-stated claim that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving or impaired driving.
The only exception is for contacting emergency first responders. Furthermore, it’s important to remember these violations apply to vehicles in “drive.” Parked cars on the side of the road are not subject to HB 4868.
A study conducted by Volvo states 71 percent of people surveyed admit to using a phone while driving despite the illegality. Further research from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says more than 600,000 drivers are using a phone while driving at any given time. More than 25 percent of collisions reported by the police involve distracted driving.
Stay Off Your Phone While Driving, Please!
Keeping these statistics in mind, it’s no surprise Gov. Pritzker doubled down on HB 4868. Illinois looks like it’s going to be one of the leaders in curbing texting and driving accidents across the country.
Just know, if you’re driving anywhere around Edwardsville — please stay off your phone and focus on the road. There is no more leniency for texting and driving in Illinois.