Distracted Drivers? Electric Device Used Behind the Wheel is Outlawed in Illinois

distracted drivingOn January 1, 2014 Illinois banned the use of electronic devices, including hand held cell phones, while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This new law is an expansion to 625 ILCS 5/12 610.2, Illinois’ previously enacted anti-texting and driving statute.

While the new law completely outlaws the use of electronic devices while a driver is driving a vehicle, there are a few exceptions that have been carved out by the legislature that allow for the use of some electronic devices. The statute provides for drivers to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS), CB and HAM radios, or a device that is “physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle.” In addition, the statute allows drivers to use an electronic device in hands free or voice-operated mode, and provides for the use of a head set. The fine for violation of the statute for a first offense is $75, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

In addition, the new statute is a primary law, which means that an officer can pull you over if he sees you using your electronic device while driving. A secondary law is one where an officer must pull you over for something else and notice the secondary offense in order to issue a citation.

The Dangers of Cell Phone Use and Driving

The National Safety Counsel recently published their annual injury and fatality report. It was found that nearly 26 percent of car accidents occurring in the United States were caused by the use of cell phones while driving. The National Safety Counsel also states that the data is likely underreported due to the lack of drivers willing to admit to using their phones when they get into an accident. In addition, a 2005 study done by the IIHS of drivers in Western Australia found cell phone users four times more likely to get into crashes that were serious enough to injure themselves.

A national survey was done in 2012 to query into the amount of people who use their phone and drive at the same time. The survey found an astonishing five percent of drivers were on their phones while stopped at a traffic light at any given time of day, and that nearly nine percent of people were on their cell phones (driving or otherwise) during any moment of the day. In addition, a study in 2009 done by Michigan State University showed that nearly seven percent of the time spent behind the wheel was done while using a cell phone.

The dangers that occur due to cell phone and electronic device use while driving are well known and well documented. Sending a text or making a call while driving sufficiently distracts a driver for long enough to where they are unable to react to a situation due to their inattention. In addition, being on the phone while driving significantly reduces a driver’s reaction time due to the cognitive impairment that occurs when both talking on the phone and driving a motor vehicle simultaneously.

Call an Illinois Attorney

If you have been cited for using an electronic device while driving, or if you have injured someone as a result of your distracted driving, contact the skilled attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for a confidential interview.