In 2010, Illinois became one of the first states to pass a law banning texting while driving. Cellphone ownership was common, and distraction-related driving accidents had jumped accordingly.

Since then, smartphones have become more pervasive. Drivers with smartphones now have the ability—and temptation—to read emails, check social media and browse the internet, which makes checking their phones while driving irresistible.

Stricter law

This past July, Illinois decided to take cellphone restrictions a step further. Under the new law, drivers are prohibited from messaging, reading, talking—or doing anything at all on a hand-held cellphone. Even just holding a cellphone while driving is a violation.

No exceptions

Illinois has followed the example of many states in recent years who have created stricter cellphone driving laws. Other states, however, have stipulated certain exceptions to the rule—such as using your phone to operate GPS or adjust music. These exceptions do not apply under Illinois law.

It is also worth noting that law enforcement considers you to be “driving” anytime you’re on the road. If you’re waiting at a stoplight, you’re still driving—and the no-cellphone rule still applies.

More serious penalties

Under the previous law, drivers caught texting received a warning (non-moving violation). Under the new law, drivers will receive a moving violation—which goes on their permanent record. Drivers who accrue three such violations in a 12-month period will face license suspension.

Violators of this law will also have to pay fees:

  • First offense: $75
  • Second offense: $100
  • Third offense: $125
  • Subsequent offenses: $150

Distracted driving accidents

Distracted driving laws help to keep drivers more attentive on the road, which creates a safer environment for everyone. They also serve to hold violators accountable. If you’re involved in an accident with a driver who was using their phone, you have rights to seek justice for your damages. Talking with a car accident attorney about your case can help you understand your rights.