Dangers of Texting and Cell Phone Use While Driving, and Illinois’ New State Law

There are more than 300 million wireless phone and data subscriptions in America today, and many of these devices are designed to keep individuals constantly connected to one another. In the past decade, technology has become ubiquitous, and in many ways, this has played a role in enhancing our quality of life. Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that technology related distractions cause at least 3,000 deaths on our roadways each year, and many of them are due to text messaging while driving. Currently, 41 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have enacted some sort of ban on text messaging behind the wheel of an automobile, and Illinois is one of them.

Below are the specific state laws of Illinois pertaining to technology in motor vehicles:

1. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all bus drivers
(Primary Law)
2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all novice drivers
(Primary Law)
3. Ban on text messaging for all drivers
(Primary Law)
4. Ban on the use of cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone 5. A new ban on the use of handheld devices for all drivers will become a primary law within the year, effective 01/01/2014
A primary law means that an officer is able to ticket a driver for the offense, even if a traffic violation has not taken place. This means that in 2014, Illinois drivers will no longer be able to use their cell phones in any capacity behind the wheel other than with a Bluetooth or hands free device. It is also important to note that many studies have shown there is little benefit to the use of hands free devices when compared to the normal use of a cell phone. Regardless of where you are, or what laws may be in place, the best way to avoid a car accident is simply by not texting or using a mobile device at all when driving. (distraction.gov)

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