Tougher Penalties for Using Cell Phones while Driving

Posted on in Criminal Law

cell phone and drivingIn August of this year, Governor Quinn passed a law to strengthen the ban against using cell phones while driving.  The hope was that a updated law would help curb the commonplace occurrence of people talking while driving.  Before this law was strengthened, it was already a law in downtown Chicago and 70 other communities in Illinois.

The update made a first time offense cost $75 if you are caught driving with a cell phone on your ear.  Each additional offense would result in an increased fine of as much as $150.  But the upgraded law makes using a cell phone a moving violation.  If you receive more than three in a year, you could lose your license.

Distracted driving also includes texting while driving. This practice has been illegal for many years. The penalty is higher than driving while on the phone.  The fine is $120. Now the new law also strengthens the definition of distracted driving.  Even if you are holding the phone in your hand, you could be charged with distracted driving.

New laws like this are important to enforce.  On Sunday September 30th, two troopers were watching two intersections in Chicago for people who were texting while driving. In almost three hours, the officers issued over 130 distracted driving citations. It seems that the laws are still working on changing people’s behavior.

While distracted driving can cause minor fender benders, there are ever worse accidents that can result from cell phone use.  If a distracted driver were to harm another driver, they could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge could result in fines near $2,500 and almost a year in jail.  If the accident is fatal then the fines can be 10 times as much and the jail time is three times as much.

Traffic violations are costly and could result in the revocation of your driver’s license. If you are in danger of losing your license, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights today.