Driver Distraction Illinois Law Penalties Increasing July 1, 2019

Driver distraction can occur for many reasons. The reasons vary significantly, from eating while driving, to trying to figure out a car entertainment system while driving. However, the most frequent cause of current-era driver distraction is related to phone use. Such phone use while driving includes texting, checking for messages, and other mobile phone use.

Distracted driving remains a primary traffic safety problem. It often leads to loss of vehicle control accidents.   As seen in many DuPage County crashes, as well as those throughout Illinois, such loss of control crashes often lead to serious accident injuries for those involved.

For various reasons, the number of accidents caused by driver distraction is likely highly understated. As mentioned in the June 15, 2019 Wall Street Journal article titled “Car Companies Sharpen Focus on Curbing Distracted Driving,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in 2017 (the most recent available data) 3166 (9% of) roadway deaths were attributed to driver distraction. However, as stated in the article, this figure is likely much higher.

The threat to traffic safety caused by inattentive drivers is further seen in many statistics and surveys. Additional discussion regarding distracted driving, including its dangers and various statistics, is seen on the “Distracted Driving” page.

As discussed on the June 17, 2019 Daily Herald article titled “Starting July 1, no more free passes for texting (or holding your phone at all) and driving” the penalties associated with the Illinois distracted driving law will increase as of July 1, 2019.

An excerpt from the article:

Illinois’ law banning driving and texting is now five years old, and drivers caught violating it will face a stiffer penalty as of July 1.

Scofflaws who text, talk or use any hand-held devices behind the wheel will receive a ticket for a moving violation. Three moving violations in a 12-month period will lead to a license suspension.

The article also provides statistics as to the frequency of Illinois driver distraction.

Fines for the distracted driving ticket will be a maximum of $75 for the first offense; $100 for the second offense; $125 on the third offense; and $150 for all future citations.

Under the current law (that effective until July 1) drivers got a warning and no fine the first time offense.

Additional details regarding these driver distraction issues can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

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