Tougher Penalties are Here for Drivers Caught with a Phone in Illinois

By Chicago personal injury attorney Michael McCready of McCready Law

Illinois has some of the toughest distracted driving laws in the country. While other states only ban texting and driving, Illinois is one of a handful of states that have made it illegal to hold your phone even while you drive. Lawmakers say that distracted driving is so dangerous, it has become known as the new drunk driving.

Prior to July 1 of this year, the only penalty for distracted driving was a $75 fine for a first offense. A charge of distracted driving will now be treated as a moving violation. That means anyone caught will face points on their driver’s license with the possibility that it could be suspended. The law, like the old one, does not only apply to texting and driving, either. It applies to any driver that is caught holding their phone behind the wheel.

The law may seem harsh, but maybe this is the only way to get drivers in Illinois to pay attention to the road and not their phones. Even with the old distracted driving law and the awareness campaigns over the past several years, people continue to text, email, and even watch videos while behind the wheel.

How big is the problem? Officials from the police department in Macomb, IL says they were issuing approximately 10-to-15 citations a day before the new legislation went into place. Their hope is the new law will change driving habits.

While the new law will do little for those hurt in a car crash that involved a distracted driver, it is essential individuals understand they have options. An accident caused by distracted driving is considered negligence. Those injured by a driver looking at their phone rather than the road can file a claim against those drivers to claim compensation for their injuries.

Michael McCready is a car accident attorney and founder of Chicago based personal injury firm; McCready Law. With over 20 years of experience practicing law, Michael handles cases involving car accidents, bicycle accidents, defective products, and wrongful death. To find out more about Michael and the attorneys at McCready Law, visit their Facebook and Twitter.

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One Response to “Tougher Penalties are Here for Drivers Caught with a Phone in Illinois”

  1. Mikhael says:

    Police already have too much power to harass motorists. There is nothing worse than legislators flippantly trading the priceless liberty interests of the people for the mere “feeling” of safety (or political points). Evidence suggests that stricter bans have no material effect, probability of enforcement is the only effective deterrent, not the severity of punishment. Of course more enforcement requires actual resources. Laws like this only serve to excessively punish individuals who are caught when police bother to enforce (or use it as a pretext).