Posted in: Safety,
by Gregg Laskoski on Aug 23, 2013 06:00 AM
The bill that Governor Pat Quinn signed into law last week means Illinois motorists had better get used to more driving and less talking.
Violate the new law --it takes effect January 1, 2014-- and you'll face fines starting at $75. If you're a slow learner and you have repeat offenses, well... you could pay as much as $150 for repeat offenses as well as face a moving violation on your driving record. Three moving violations within a year could lead to your driver’s license being suspended.
Gov. Quinn also signed a measure into law that would increase penalties for drivers who injure or kills others in crashes caused by the use of a cell phone or other electronic device.
Distracted motorists who harm other drivers would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time. That measure also goes into effect Jan. 1.
Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented,” Quinn said in a statement. “Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Quinn’s signature means Illinois will join the ranks of about a dozen other states with similar restrictions and will allow drivers to operate under a uniform ban instead of a confusing patchwork of local laws that vary from town to town. Illinois already prohibits texting while driving.
Drivers still could legally make calls on hand-held phones in the case of an emergency.
Despite the growing push to require drivers to put their phones on speaker or use a headset, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have found little difference between drivers who use hand-held cell phones and those who use hands-free devices. That's because it's the intellectual distraction of the conversation that creates the true distraction, not the device itself.
Rsearchers say that all cell phone use is equally distracting once a conversation starts, noting that accident rates did not change in other states that have implemented bans on hand-held phones behind the wheel.
Are YOU still making calls or answering them when YOU drive?