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Is it legal to use cellphones while driving in Illinois?

Is it legal to use cellphones while driving in Illinois? One answer to this question is no, but another answer is yes, under certain circumstances. If you are confused, it is understandable, so keep reading for more details about the issue.

In January of 2014, a cellphone ban went into effect in the state of Illinois. Specifically, the law targets handheld cellphones, which means it is still perfectly legal to use a cellphone in voice activated or hands-free mode. Drivers may also legally use a headset to communicate via cellphone while driving. The law hopes to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents due to distracted drivers.

A new law typically comes with a set of penalties and the cellphone ban is no exception. For a first offense, violators will be subject to a fine of $75. This cost goes up to $100 for a subsequent offense. A third offense means a fine of $125 and as you might expect by now, a fourth offense imposes a fine of $150. Further, police have the power to stop people for using a cellphone while driving even if no other violation has occurred.

In some cases, there are exceptions to the new law, including:

-- While parked on the shoulder of a road

-- While stopped by a traffic obstruction, although the car must be in park or neutral

-- When reporting an emergency and when communicating with emergency personnel

-- Law enforcement personnel and emergency vehicle operators may use cellphones with their hands

Distracted driving causes an untold number of injuries and deaths in Illinois and other states. For those who have been on the receiving end of injuries due to a cellphone-involved car accident, legal assistance from a personal injury attorney is one way to seek recompense.

Source: The Caucus Blog, "Know the law: Illinois' new cellphone ban," accessed Nov. 18, 2015

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