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Using a Cell Phone While Driving Now Considered a Moving Violation

Posted on in Traffic Tickets

IL defense lawyerIllinois State Police estimates that every year distracted driving is the cause of more than 1 million crashes. Of those accidents, the economic damages - injury and death - add up to close to $40 billion. This is why Illinois is cracking down on cell phone usage while behind the wheel. The law changed on July 1 and now states that using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle will be considered a moving violation on the first violation.

What Was the Previous Law?

Before the first of July, drivers who were stopped because of cell phone usage behind the wheel were given a verbal warning that if it were to happen again, they would face a traffic violation. The subsequent traffic stops would result in a moving violation and a fine would be issued depending on how many violations the driver has had:

  • First offenses are punishable by a $75 fine.
  • Second offenses are punishable by a $100 fine.
  • Third offenses are punishable by a $125 fine.
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses are punishable by a $150 fine.

What to Expect Now

The major change to the Illinois law is that now any violation of cell phone usage while driving will go on a driver’s permanent record as a moving violation even if it is the first offense. The fines remain the same as before, but according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, if a driver receives three violations in one year, their license will be suspended.

The law covers any device that requires a driver to have one hand off of the wheel while in operation. That includes cell phones, GPS devices, etc. However, drivers are still able to use hands-free devices - Bluetooth systems - and not be in danger of moving violation tickets.

The only exceptions to the new law are:

  • Law enforcement officers operating emergency vehicles,
  • A driver who is reporting an emergency situation to the authorities,
  • A driver of a commercial vehicle with a permanently-installed communication device smaller than 10 inches,
  • A driver using their device while parked on the shoulder of the roadway,
  • A driver who uses their device only to push a button to accept or terminate a call.

If an accident occurs while on a hands-free device, the driver will be charged under the Distracted Driving Law. If the accident results in bodily harm of another person, the driver will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If someone is killed in the accident, the driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony.

Contact a Chicago, IL Traffic Ticket Attorney

If you or someone you know is fighting a moving violation, a lawyer from the Luisi Legal Group can help build a defense on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago traffic violation lawyer, call 773-276-5541.

 

Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-610.2

https://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/distractdrive.cfm

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-changes-to-texting-law-st-0630-20190628-gbqxys7gmbcs5fm4xqjnhzdadi-story.html

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