Cell phones and other handheld devices are now seemingly ubiquitous in the daily life of Illinois citizens and the country as a whole. We use them to communicate with friends and loved ones, conduct business, stay updated on current events, and a range of other activities. Unfortunately, this means that many people feel compelled to use their phones even on the road. Staying focused while driving is crucial in saving lives, which is why Illinois has tough laws for getting distracted by texting and calling. Here is your guide to Illinois cell phone driving laws.
Illinois Cell Phone Law, 2018
625 Illinois Statutes 5/12-610.2 dictates the cell phone laws in Illinois, which at this point exclusively refers to their use – and the use of other “electronic communication devices” in general – on the road. It clearly states, in no uncertain terms, that if you are using any electronic communication devices, you cannot be operating a motor vehicle.
The law does list some exceptions for this. When it comes to cell phones in particular, perhaps the easiest way to safely use a cell phone without getting in trouble is by using a cell phone in a way that does not involve holding it in your hands. These days, many cell phones have options that allow drivers to make calls using voice commands, as well as other tools that let drivers use their devices while always having both hands on the wheel.
Other notable allowable exceptions include, but are not limited to:
- Using a cell phone while parked on the side of a road
- Using a cell phone during standstill traffic (just make sure the vehicle is in Parked or Neutral)
- Reading messages on a screen that is “permanently installed” in your vehicle
- Using a device to start or end a call by only pushing a single button (any other push or means of using the device is not acceptable)
Penalties for Violating Illinois Cell Phone Laws
At this point, you may be wondering: how much is a cell phone ticket? Illinois law, as of this writing, lists that first-time offenders will be fined up to $75. This increases to $100 upon a second offense and $125 for a third offense. After that, any subsequent offense of this law will result in a maximum fine of $150.
If this strikes you as harsh, the offense can be far harsher, as can the penalties. In addition to the use of an electronic communication device, this statute also codifies and describes the crime of aggravated use of an electronic communication device. A person would be charged with this if their use of these devices is a “proximate cause” of a vehicle collision in which someone is seriously injured or killed.
When distracted driving results in another person receiving “great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement,” it is a serious misdemeanor. This charge may be upgraded to a felony if someone is killed in or as a result of the accident.
If you or a loved one require legal assistance with any matters regarding cell phone driving laws or a cell phone ticket, Chicago distracted driving lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are ready and willing to discuss your circumstances and help you understand this or any other traffic violations. If you have been injured in an accident involving someone who was driving while distracted, we can help you receive compensation as well. Reach out to us today at (312) 644-0444 to receive a free consultation.