Monday, July 1, 2019

Illinois Increases Penalties for Texting While Driving

Starting July 1, 2019 drivers in Illinois will automatically be ticketed if caught texting, looking at social media, or even holding their phone while talking. Under the previous version of the law a police officer had the authority to issue a warning to a driver. Not any more. Now a police officer who catches someone using their phone in any way other than hands free is required to issue a traffic citation. 

And it is not just phones. Here's what Illinois law says about all the devices that are banned: 

"Electronic communication device" means an electronic device, including but not limited to a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include a global positioning system or navigation system or a device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle."

Keating Law Offices Supports New Illinois Law 

Keating Law Offices founder Mike Keating said, 
"This should have been the law since the very beginning. Some studies have shown that texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving. We have seen far too many of clients injured as the result of a driver with a phone in their hand. There is an easy fix to this problem and fortunately Illinois is taking a positive step towards fixing it. It is not dramatic to say that lives depend on it." 
Mike Keating was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune regarding this new law when it was first passed by the Illinois legislature. In addition to being a personal injury and wrongful death attorney representing clients in Illinois, Mike is also worked as an attorney in Illinois' capital and is currently a Chair of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association's Legislative Committee. 

Bicyclists Are Vulnerable 

Bicyclists and pedestrians are often referred to as "vulnerable users of the roadways." What this means is that pedestrians and bicyclists have very little protection if they get injured an accident. Unlike a car that has a steel cage, seatbelts and airbags, a pedestrian or bicyclist can get badly injured even in a "minor" collision that would be a fender bender between two cars. This is why it is particularly important that Illinois is taking these steps to reduce distracted driving in Illinois.