Starting next year, you will no longer be able to talk on a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn has amended the Illinois Vehicle Code to prohibit the use of a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. This law is effective January 1, 2014, making Illinois one of many states to enact such a law.
The law still permits drivers to utilize a cell phone in hands-free mode or with the use of a headset. However, use of a hand-held cell phone can subject one to a $75 fine for the first offense, only to be increased by $25 for each offense until reaching $150 for the fourth or subsequent offense. There are some exemptions to the law for the use of cell phones by law enforcement officers, those who utilize a cell phone to report an emergency and for those who are stopped in traffic so long as their motor vehicle is in neutral or park.
There is a widespread debate over whether the use of hand-held devices is more distracting to drivers than the use of a device in hands-free mode. One thing is certain – any attempts for a reduction in the use of cell phones for those driving is an attempt at reducing the likelihood for a collision. As of August 23, 2013, the Illinois Department of Transportation has identified 614 roadway fatalities since January 1, 2013. http://www.dot.state.il.us/
The attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard encourage you to drive safely and begin utilizing the hands-free devices now to be prepared for the new law on January 1, 2014.