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Illinois Texting Laws Changed in 2019

Posted in Car Accidents, Personal Injury on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Since July of 2019, it has been illegal to use your smartphone – or another electronic device – in any capacity while behind the wheel, and this naturally includes texting. Having a better understanding of cell phone laws can help you stay safe out there. If a negligent motorist leaves you injured in a car accident, don’t wait to consult with an experienced Joliet personal injury attorney

The Only Instances It Is Legal to Use Your Smartphone while behind the Wheel

The following instances are the only times it is legal to be on your smartphone while behind the wheel:

  • To call 9-1-1 to report an emergency
  • While parked on a highway’s shoulder
  • When stopped as a result of traffic (with your car in neutral or park)

A red light is not a free pass to text. Hands-free smartphone usage remains legal for motorists who are at least 19 years old.

Fines and Penalties

The fines and penalties associated with using one’s smartphone behind the wheel include:

  • For a first offense, there is a $75 fine.
  • For a second offense, there is a $100 fine.
  • For a third offense, there is a $125 fine.
  • For a fourth offense, there is a $150 fine.

If a motorist has three such violations (or any moving violations) within a year, he or she faces driver’s license suspension. 

Cell Phone Tickets Are Moving Violations

Any ticket written for using a cellphone behind the wheel is a moving violation and counts as points against your license. 

When Smartphones Cause Accidents

If a motorist who is engaged with his or her phone causes an accident, it is now a Class A misdemeanor if the accident leads to injuries, permanent disability, or disfigurement of another person. If the accident is fatal, it becomes a Class 4 felony.

Distracted Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that the three major categories of distraction include:

  • Visual distractions are those distractions that require you to take your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distractions are those distractions that require you to take your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive distractions are those distractions that require you to take your mind off what you are doing.

Your smartphone has the singular distinction of rolling all three distractions into one handheld device.

Distracted Driving: The Stats

Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares two important statistics that back this up:

  • In 2018 alone, 2,841 motorists lost their lives to distracted driving. 
  • In 2018, an estimated 400,000 people were injured in traffic accidents involving distracted driving.

An Experienced Joliet Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If a driver on his or her smartphone leaves you injured in a car accident, the formidable personal injury attorneys at Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino in Joliet are well prepared to skillfully advocate for your rights and for your case’s rightful resolution. Your case is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information today.

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