Know the Laws Regarding Cell Phone Use While Driving in Illinois
According to recent estimates, more than 90 percent of American adults own and use a cell phone. This does not even account for those who use tablets or any other type of mobile electronic device. When cell phones were first introduced, their primary appeal was that they were perfect for business professional and others who were constantly on the go. While that focus has changed somewhat in the last three decades, cell phones are rapidly replacing traditional landlines giving more and more people to communicate without being tied to a particular location.
As cell phone technology has advanced, people have also become much more likely to use their devices while behind the wheel of their cars. Despite study after study showing the dangers of using a cell to talk or text while driving, many cannot seem to put them down. If this describes you, it is important to understand that you could be pulled over for using your phone while driving, and the penalties for doing so can add up quickly.
No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use
In 2013, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure that standardized cell phone laws statewide. Since then, several modifications have been made to the law to better encompass emerging technology. It is illegal in Illinois for any driver to use a hand-held cell phone in any capacity while driving a motor vehicle. “Using” means talking on the phone, sending a text message, checking emails, engaging on social media, and any other operation of a cell phone. The law also extends to any other device such as a tablet, laptop, or personal digital assistant.
Law enforcement officers may use such devices in their official duties, and drivers reporting an emergency situation may also use their cell phones to do so. The law also makes specific exceptions for drivers who use their devices with a headset or in a “hands-free or voice-operated mode.” Truck drivers and others who use CB radios may still do so, and GPS devices are not considered mobile communication devices for the purposes of the law.
Fines and Penalties
Illegal use of a mobile device is a primary offense, which means that you can be pulled over for using your phone even if you were not committing any other infractions. A first offense carries a fine of up to $75, and fines increase for each subsequent offense with a maximum of $150. If, however, you are using your phone and you cause an accident in which another person is severely injured, disabled, or disfigured, you could face Class A misdemeanor charges. The charge is a Class 4 felony is someone is killed.
Contact a Traffic Violations Attorney
If you have been cited for using a mobile device while driving, it is important to understand your available options. Contact an experienced Will County traffic offense lawyer to discuss your case. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.