Cell phones have proven to provide many benefits and much convenience, but as they become more prominent in our daily lives, they have also become more prone to have issues. The past couple of years have shown an upward trend in the number of cases of distracted driving across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 2,800 people died in distraction-related accidents while an estimated 400,000 people were injured in distracted-related driving accidents in 2018, the latest year for which data is available. In recent years, more states have passed laws making cell phone use and distracted driving illegal, as is the case in Illinois.
In Illinois, drivers are forbidden from using what the state defines as “electronic communication devices.” According to Illinois law, electronic communication devices include cell phones and any other small computer or handheld electronic device that is not integrated into your vehicle. The state of Illinois does not permit the use of electronic communication devices while driving. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule.
Illinois makes exceptions for the use of an electronic communication device if the driver is:
Making a call for emergency services.
Using a cell phone in hands-free mode.
Pulled over and parked on the shoulder of the road.
Using a device while the vehicle is stopped due to the normal flow of traffic and the vehicle is in Park or Neutral.
Using a cell phone that has a single button to initiate and terminate phone calls.
Prior to 2019, using your cell phone while you were driving was only considered a petty offense. This meant that you were issued a fine, but the offense did not appear on your driving record. Now, a violation of the electronic communication device law is considered a moving violation, which is a traffic offense that carries fines and adds points to your driver’s license. If you commit three or more moving violations within a year, your driver’s license is at risk of being suspended. Fines for a first offense violation are $75 and increase by $25 increments each time you receive additional tickets until you reach your fourth ticket, where it caps at $150.
You can face additional charges that are much more serious than a simple moving violation if you end up in an accident that causes another person bodily harm or even death. Those charges could range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony, which could mean time in prison.
Nobody wants to receive a traffic ticket, but the reality is that most of us will receive one at some point or another. If you have been accused of using your cell phone while behind the wheel or allowing yourself to become distracted while driving, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights, IL traffic crimes defense lawyer. With more than 25 years of experience in criminal law, Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will utilize that to your benefit to get you the best outcome possible. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-253-3400.
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