driver on cell phone texting

New Distracted Driving Penalty for Illinois Drivers

There are over 300,000 car accidents across the state of Illinois each year, yet many of these accidents are completely preventable when drivers take the proper precautions and care that they need to when behind the wheel.

Arguably the easiest way to do this is to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. But in today’s day and age, drivers are subject to plenty of distractions that can make these important behaviors difficult—and ultimately lead to a distracted driving-related accident.

In order to deter these dangerous driving behaviors, statewide legislation was recently modified; as on July 1, 2020, drivers in Illinois face harsher penalties for texting while driving. Now, if a motorist is texting and driving and causes an accident that causes great bodily harm (such as permanent disability, disfigurement, loss of limb, etc.), then the driver automatically faces:

  • A Class A Misdemeanor charge
  • A minimum $1,000 fine
  • A 12-month license suspension

Timeline of Distracted Driving Laws

Illinois first banned texting and driving back in January 2010. Then, in 2014, the state updated the law to require all drivers to have hands-free devices for talking on the phone behind the wheel. However, these “bans” only resulted in warnings. In July 2019, new legislative changes were made in regards to the statewide distracted driving law, which includes all “electronic communication devices”:

  • All drivers are prohibited from receiving, reading, or sending a text or browsing the web while behind the wheel
  • All drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices while behind the wheel
  • Drivers under 18 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone at all (even hands-free) behind the wheel
  • All drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone (even hands-free) in a school or construction zone
  • School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones of any kind while driving

Injured by a Distracted Driver?

If you or a loved one is injured by a distracted driver in Chicago, turn to McNabola & Associates to learn more about your rights. Our car accident attorneys will stand in your corner and help you pursue the compensation you need to heal the right way.

Contact our firm today at (312) 888-8700 to speak with our legal team for free.