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2014: New Year, New Traffic Law in Illinois

Posted on in Personal Injury
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It is reasonable to say that the vast majority of adults and teenagers are aware of the dangers of texting and driving, and have heard at least one unfortunate account involving the negative consequences of using a cell phone while behind the wheel of a car. In light of this, it is perhaps not surprising that the legislature has stepped in to address this issue. Beginning on January 1st, 2014, it will be illegal to use cell phones while driving in the state of Illinois.

 new traffic law in IllinoisThe Crystal Lake Patch reported on the new law in a recently published article. The ban on cell phone use will include the use of all other communication devices, and will consist of talking on the device or using it for another purpose. However, it should be noted that, according to the Illinois General Assembly website, the law does contain the following exceptions, among others:

  • Using the electronic communication device for the purpose of reporting an emergency or communication with emergency personnel;
  • Using the electronic communication device in a hands-free manner, including the use of a single-sided headset;
  • Using the electronic communication device while parked on the shoulder of a road;
  • Using the electronic communication device when the vehicle is stopped and is in either neutral or park;
  • Using the electronic communication device by pressing a single button to begin or end a telephone call.

The law provides for the penalty a fine starting at $75 for those who violate its terms. Governor Pat Quinn signed the piece of legislation in August of this year. The purpose behind it is to encourage people to drive safely and responsibly. Government leaders expressed the view that when drivers use their cell phones, they neglect to give their full attention to driving the roadways. It is the hope of the government leaders that by passing the law and putting it into effect in the new year, there will be a decline in traffic accidents and an increase in the safety of Illinois roads.

Coinciding with this law taking effect on January 1st, the state of Illinois will begin to impose harsher penalties on those individuals who are responsible for causing an accident while using a cell phone or other electronic device behind the wheel. In the case of an accident that causes great bodily harm, the new penalties will allow for the driver to be sentenced to up to one year of incarceration. If the accident results in a death, the driver's prison sentence can be one to three years. Under the current law, drivers in the above-described scenarios could only be charged with traffic violations.

While this action by the legislature certainly conveys further awareness to the dangers of being on a cell phone while driving, it is an unfortunate reality that some drivers will choose to disregard it. The public deserves protection from these individuals' negligent acts. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident by a negligent driver, an experienced personal injury attorney in the Chicago area can advocate for your rights. Contact the attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to discuss your case.
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