Illinois is Tough on Distracted Driving
Drunk driving is not the only dangerous act people can engage in behind the wheel. Similar to drugs and alcohol, distractions can also impair a person’s driving and cause fatal results.
In 2012, 3,238 people were killed and another 387,000 were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver. Operating an automobile requires the full attention of the driver. A driver who is distracted can be just as deadly as a driver who is drunk.
In the past few years, several states have passed laws outlawing distracted driving; Illinois followed suit in early 2014. Illinois lawmakers are aware that advances in technology continue to provide new ways for drivers to be distracted. The Illinois legislature is currently attempting to pass a bill to outlaw the use of new technology while driving, for fear that it could be distracting to drivers.
Distracted Driving in Illinois
On January 1, 2014, Illinois' ban on talking and texting on a cell phone while driving went into effect. The ban is another step toward combating distracted driving in Illinois. This ban does not include hands-free devices; therefore, it is legal drive while using cell phones with Bluetooth headsets and phones that are integrated into a car’s speakers. Bus drivers and drivers under 19 years old are not permitted to use any kind of cell phone while driving, even if it is hands-free.
Illinois law carves out a few specific locations where drivers cannot use any type of electronic communication devices, including hands-free devices. These locations are:
- School Zones: School zones are marked by school zone speed limit signs.
- Highway Construction Areas: Any area of the highway where construction or maintenance is taking place. Marked by construction speed zone signs, or other signs alerting drivers of the construction or maintenance.
- Emergency Scenes: Within 500 feet of an emergency scene. An emergency scene is any place where an emergency vehicle is present and has its emergency lights on.
Other Driving Distractions
Technological devices like tablets and cell phones are not the only type of driving distraction. A driving distraction is anything that diverts the driver’s attention away from the wheel. Other driving distractions include:
- Taking care of minor children, which may include turning around to tend to small children in the backseat of the car;
- Putting on makeup;
- Talking to other passengers;
- Changing the music, which may consist of adjusting the radio dial, searching for a song on your iPod, or putting in a new CD; and
- Using GPS navigation or reading a map.
Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney
Distracted driving is a common occurrence in today’s world. If you are facing criminal charges as the result of driving while distracted, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. With locations in Geneva and Naperville, Illinois, our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience providing aggressive defense in criminal cases throughout northern Illinois. All criminal charges are serious; don’t take risks with your future, call and consult with us about your case today.