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July 1st Marks Stricter Distracted Driving Laws

The state of Illinois is cracking down on distracted driving. The consequences of texting while driving will no longer include a warning but could lead to a hefty fine and the suspension of your license. The goal of these stricter penalties is to ultimately reduce deaths caused by distracted drivers and to make Illinois roads safer for everyone involved.

Beginning July 1st, you will no longer receive a warning for your first offense of distracted driving. A first-time offense will conclude in a moving violation. Three moving violations in a single year will result in the suspension of your driver’s license. In addition to the violation, a maximum of a $75 fine will be issued on your first-time offense, followed by a $100 fine for your 2nd offense, a $125 fine for your 3rdoffense, and a $150 fine for all future offenses. This crackdown is not limited to cellphones but will include any and all electronic communication devices. This past year, Illinois state police issued an estimated 15,150 citations for distracted driving. With the increasing attention to ending distracted driving, we can anticipate an increase in citations administered in this upcoming year.

In 2017 alone, 3,166 people across the nation died from distracted driving. The ultimate goal of this crackdown is to change the perception of texting while driving and make people realize how dangerous it really is. When you drive while distracted you not only put yourself at risk but those around you as well. Illinois state representatives are hoping to make the roads as safe as possible with these new enforcements.

Distracted driving is an umbrella term that encompasses much more than just texting. It can come in many different forms such as taking your eyes off of the road to change the radio station or to look at a roadside car crash. Your eyes, hands, and mind should be focused on the road at all times when operating a motor vehicle. Taking your hands off of the wheel at any time in order to eat, drink, use a cellphone, or manipulate a GPS are more examples of distracted driving and are just as dangerous. These distractions can cause a driver to miss critical events, objects in the road, important cues from other drivers, or even lose control of their vehicle.

The motivations behind the tightened reigns on road safety aim to reduce deaths caused by distracted driving and to change the social norms surrounding distracted driving. Making small changes in your daily routine can diminish the risks and increase your personal safety getting from point A to point B. Installing hands-free devices or placing your cell phone out of reach while driving are both small changes that could make an immense change.

We encourage you to keep these risks and safety precautions in mind when reaching for your phone while operating a motor vehicle. While you can enforce these safety measures, the actions of others are not always in our control. If you or a loved one are ever personally injured due to someone else’s negligent actions of distracted driving, call a Spiros Law attorney at (815) 929-9292 to explore your options.