Illinois is cracking down on texting and driving

Lawmakers in Illinois are cracking down on distracted driving and other driving violations. They hope it will put an end to some of these.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 10:00 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 9:07 AM

Illinois (WTHI) -- Distracted driving is in the top four causes of deadly accidents in Illinois. Now, the state is cracking down.

Starting July 1, if you are caught with a phone in your hands while driving you could be hit with a hefty fine in Illinois, and it could even mean getting your license taken away.

Before, it was a much cheaper ticket and only a moving violation the second time around.

Now, it's a moving violation the first time you're caught and it's a fine of $164. The second time you're pulled over is the same.
But, if you are pulled over for it a third time it could mean you get your license suspended.

This law is strictly for if your phone is in your hands. If you are using a hands-free connection then you cannot be ticketed for this.

Illinois State Police Trooper Tammy Welbourne said they're cracking down because they continue to see this problem on the road in the state. She said if they don't do something now it will continue to get worse.

"As traffic issues develop and evolve we have to evolve with them," Welbourne said. "10 years ago texting while driving wasn't an issue so we're evolving with the times to try to address some of these safety issues. We're hoping that the public will take heed and we're looking for voluntary compliance if we can get folks to adhere to these laws without issuing tickets that's what we'd really like to do."

If you have your phone in your hand the only exception to the law is if you are calling 911 for an emergency.

Welbourne said the law still applies even if you are calling a specific police agency or making a phone call for another type of emergency like an animal on the roads.

This isn't the only Illinois driving law going into effect in July.

Also starting July 1, all minor traffic violations will go from $120 to $164. Seatbelt tickets will go up from $60 to $164 as well.

Also, any major violations like a DUI or street racing will be a $3,000 bond.

Lawmakers are hoping this will cut down on these violations.

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