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Texting While Driving in Illinois

Earlier this month, two individuals were driving northbound on Fosterburg Road in Alton, Illinois. During their commute, an oncoming southbound vehicle drifted into their lane, hitting them head on. Witnesses say that the at-fault driver was texting while driving. The passengers in the northbound car sustained serious injuries including, but not limited to, broken toes, a shattered hip, broken ribs, fractured sternum, and fractured vertebrae. The southbound driver received citations for improper lane usage and illegal use of a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle.

Do not text and drive, it is against the Law!

As you may already know, it is against the law to text and drive here in Illinois. Per Illinois’ statute 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2, a person shall not drive a vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to either compose, send, or even read an electronic message. A personal cellphone is one of the items Illinois identifies as an “electronic communication device”.

What you may not know is that it is also illegal to talk on your phone and drive in Illinois! Illinois adopted a ban on hand-held cell phones on January 1, 2014. Illinois calls this the “hands-free” requirement.

There are, however, exceptions to the texting while driving and the hands-free requirement. The exceptions are as follows:

  1.     In Illinois, you may use your cellphone, while driving, if it is for the specific purpose of reporting an emergency situation and the continued use of your cellphone is for the purpose of the continued communication with emergency personnel during.
  2.     In Illinois, you may use your cellphone in hands-free or voice-activated mode.
  3.     In Illinois, you may freely use your cellphone if you are parked on the shoulder of the road.
  4.     In Illinois, you may freely use your cellphone if you are on the road and traffic is stopped because of normal traffic being obstructed and you have your vehicle’s transmission in either neutral or park.

Illinois’ statute prohibited texting and requiring hands-free use, lists specific fines for its violation. Fines for a driver’s first offense are $75.00. For subsequent offenses, the fines increase to $100.00, $125.00 and $150.00.

The Numbers are Startling

The statistics relating to texting while driving are particularly noteworthy. An auto accident is 23 times more likely to occur if you are texting and driving! In 2011 alone, nearly 23 percent of all reported auto accidents, or 1.3 million, resulted from cellphone use. If are driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour and your attention is taken away from the road for five seconds, for example, this is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field without looking at the road!

Despite the number and research that exists, 77 percent of young adults are quite confident that they can text and drive without causing an accident. Similarly, 55 percent of young adult drivers state that it is easy to text while driving.

Take Action

If you are injured from a car accident at the fault of another driver, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have such experience and will aggressively take on your case. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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