Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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815-666-1285

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Plainfield, IL traffic violations defense attorney

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed over 2,800 lives in 2018. Due to the danger it poses, states across the country are cracking down on motorists who engage in this type of behavior. Earlier this year, Illinois revised its law on distracted driving and, specifically, the use of cell phones while behind the wheel. Previously, the act of texting and driving was punished as a moving violation only for repeat offenders. The revised law now punishes first-time offenders with a moving violation in addition to fines and possible prison time depending on the circumstances.

Why Was the Change Made?

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road, along with drunk driving and drowsy driving. The change to the law was made to help reduce the number of car crashes. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be helping, since studies show that so far in 2020, 15.6 percent of young motorists (18-24) admit to driving while on the phone. Additionally, 20 percent of these drivers admit to not being aware of the specific Illinois criminal law that makes texting and driving illegal.

These rates of distracted driving are even higher when other types of distractions are considered. A person drives distracted when he or she:

  • Uses a cell phone when it is not in hands-free mode

  • Eats while the vehicle is in motion

  • Puts on makeup 

  • Talks to passengers

  • Changes or removes clothes 

Penalties for Distracted Driving

Any of the above activities may be considered reckless driving, because the actions put the driver and others on the road at risk of injury or death. Reckless driving is charges as a Class A misdemeanor and comes with possible jail time and a $2,500 fine.

As for cell phone usage while driving, offending motorists can be fined for each time they break the law:

  • $75 for first offenders

  • $100 for second offenders

  • $125 for third offenders

  • $150 for fourth and subsequent offenders

Motorists who cause an accident as a result of distracted driving may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if a victim is injured. If a victim is killed as a result of distracted driving, the offending driver can face a Class 4 felony.

The Illinois law still recognizes exceptions to the distracted driving law for the following actions:

  • Law enforcement officers performing their duties

  • Using an electronic device to report an emergency

  • Using a mobile device while it is in hands-free mode

  • Operating a permanent communication device in a commercial vehicle

  • Using a cell phone while parked on the side of the road

Contact a Joliet, IL Traffic Violations Attorney

Distracted driving is a risky activity that can lead to collisions that may result in serious or fatal injuries. However, drivers could face distracted driving charges based on information or claims that are not accurate. If you or someone you know is facing traffic violation charges of any kind, an experienced attorney from Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help defend your rights and driving privileges. To schedule a free consultation with our accomplished Will County criminal defense lawyers, call our office today at 815-666-1285.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=100-0858

https://illinoisrecklessdriving.com/law-penalties/

https://www.thezebra.com/texting-and-driving-statistics/

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

 

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