New Law Increases Consequences for Texting While Driving in Illinois

joliet traffic attorneyA new law that was recently enacted in Illinois will increase the consequences that drivers face when they choose to text while driving. House Bill 4846, which was backed by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), makes a first-time offense of using an electronic device while driving a moving violation , rather than just a warning. The bill was supported by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Secretary of State, and the Illinois State Police.

First-Time Offenses Are No Longer Just Warnings

Under the new law, which will take effect in July 2019, drivers only need to be caught using an electronic device once for the offense to be considered a moving violation. The Illinois Vehicle Code currently states that drivers must be caught using an electronic device while driving at least twice before any disciplinary action is taken against them. When the new law goes into effect, not only will first-offense violations be added to one’s driving record, but violators will also face a license suspension if they are caught three times within a 12-month period. Drivers will also face fines as follows for violations:

  • First offense: $75
  • Second offense: $100
  • Third offense: $125
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: $150

Texting While Driving Is the Cause of Many Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed by distracted driving in 2016, and an estimated 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving in 2015. Though the hand-held use of electronic devices while driving has decreased, using an electronic device in any way still increases the risk of distraction for drivers. The NHTSA also reported that when drivers use electronic devices while driving, the risk of a crash increases by nearly 3.6 times.

Contact a Skilled Joliet Traffic Violation Defense Attorney

In certain cases, using an electronic device while driving can become a felony, including when a driver causes an accident that resulted in death or permanent harm to another person. No matter the severity of the charge, having a violation on your driving record for using an electronic device while driving can affect your driver’s license and your insurance rates. If you have been charged with texting while driving, or if your driver’s license has been suspended because of multiple violations, you should contact a Will County traffic violation defense attorney for help. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba can help you keep your record clean. Call our office at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation.

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