New Illinois Distracted Driving Law Effective July 2019

Distracted driving continues to be a major traffic safety issue nationally, as well as in Will County as well as throughout Illinois.  There are many possible actions that can lead to a driver being distracted to the point where the driver is susceptible to a loss of vehicle control.   Two of the most problematical actions that frequently lead to distracted driving is the use of cell phones while driving as well as texting while driving.

A recent study, which is discussed in the April 2, 2018 post titled “‘Distracted Driving’ Seen As Top Threat To Traffic Safety” indicates that such driving was seen by motorists as the top threat to traffic safety.

There are many reasons why distracted driving is such a traffic hazard and often leads to loss of vehicle control accidents.   Loss of control accidents often lead to serious injuries for both the occupants of the vehicle that has lost control as well as any other individuals involved in the crash.

Various reasons as to why distracted driving is hazardous, as well as various statistics, are further discussed on the “Distracted Driving Accidents” page.

Recently, a new Illinois law (further) addresses distracted driving.  The Daily Herald article of August 22, 2018 (“Why Illinois is making penalties for texting while driving tougher“) discusses the new law and various statistics regarding driver distraction.  An excerpt:

State Sen. Cristina Castro, an Elgin Democrat who sponsored the legislation, says penalties under the current law, which went into effect in 2014, haven’t done enough to curb motorists from using cellphones while driving. In 2017, about 9 percent of Illinois motorists were observed using electronic devices while driving, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Nationwide, distracted driving caused 3,450 deaths in 2016.

also, with regard to the new law:

The stricter penalties, which go into effect on July 1, 2019, were signed into law last week. People who illegally use handheld electronic devices while driving will be given a moving violation on the first offense instead of a nonmoving violation. Motorists who rack up three moving violations within a year can have their driver’s license suspended.

An excerpt regarding this new law and its penalties regarding distracted driving, from the August 17, 2018 Chicago Tribune article titled “New distracted driving fine, bike safety rule signed into law“:

One law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner imposes a harsher penalty on drivers caught using a phone behind the wheel without a hands-free device.

The new law, which goes into effect next July, makes the penalty $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $125 for a third and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense. Under current law, drivers get a warning and no fine the first time.

Additional details regarding these distracted driving issues can be seen in the sources mentioned above.