Cell phones use, texting or calling while driving is prohibited throughout the state of Illinois. Illinois law, new as of 2014, does exempt the use of GPS and other hands‐free devices.
The Illinois Vehicle Coded was amended to expand the prohibition on driving while using an electronic communication device to include:
- composing or writing,
- sending, or
- reading an electronic message.
Exceptions to to the Illinois Vehicle Code include:
- the use of hands-free devices,
- two-way radios, and
- electronic devices capable of performing multiple functions as long as these devices are not used for a prohibited purpose.
Prior to the new law taking affect on Jan. 1, dozens of municipalities, including the city of Chicago had their own similar violations based on the use of cell phones while driving. The statewide ban eliminates the confusion created by a complicated patchwork of local laws.
Prior to this new law it was already illegal in the state of Illinois to use hand-held cell phones while driving through school and construction zones, and that remains. Also, all cell phone use was already banned for drivers under the age of 18 unless making an emergency call. Illinois prohibits texting while driving generally.
CDL holders operating a commercial vehicle such as truck drivers already were required to use hands-free devices while driving in the state of Illinois.
Under the new law, driving without a hands-free device will be a primary offense. That means that law enforcement officers can stop a driver and issue them a ticket should a motorist be observed with a phone pressed to their ear or texting.
The legislation also established a graduated scale of fines for citations for repeat offenses. Under the new law, first-time offenders will face a $75 fine. The fine will increase to $100 for a second violation, $125 for a third violation and $150 for each subsequent violation of the new law. After four violations of the cell phone law, the Illinois Secretary of State has the power to suspend the driver's license of the violator.
In the case of an emergency or when stopped in traffic jams, drivers will be allowed make calls legally on hand-held phones if their vehicle is in park or neutral. Under the new law hobbyists will be allowed to fiddle with their citizens band radios (CB radios). Police and emergency personnel are exempt from the ban while performing their official duties.
The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis have defended countless clients against traffic charges throughout the Chicago area courts, including those located in Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County. Contact us now for a free consultation.