Cell Phone/Texting While Driving Violations
The traffic attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. frequently represent clients charged with Illinois cell phone violations. Cell phones have become an essential part of everyday life, keeping us constantly connected to the digital world. Our dependence on smartphones has led to a sharp rise in cell phone use while driving. There is still a lot of confusion when it comes to this area of the law, which may be attributed to recent changes and the differences in laws between states.
In Illinois, the use of a wireless telephone in a motor vehicle is governed by Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2, which prohibits drivers from using any "electronic communication device" while driving. Electronic communication devices include hand-held wireless telephones, hand-held personal digital assistants, laptop computers, and other portable computers. Additionally, you may not use a cell phone in a school or construction zone. Of course, GPS or navigation systems that are physically or electronically-integrated into the vehicle are exempt from this law.
Beginning July 1, 2019, Illinois will increase the penalty for texting while driving. A first offense will be treated as a moving violation. Previously, the law only treated a second or subsequent offense as a moving violation. Of course, moving violations are offenses which count toward a license suspension and will appear on your driving record. Also, under the new law, drivers are subject to higher minimum fines after a first offense.
A driver may be charged with aggravated use of a wireless telephone if the use occurs while driving through a school or construction zone or within 500 feet of an emergency scene and the violation is a proximate cause of death or significant injury to another person. An emergency scene is defined as a location where an emergency vehicle is present and engaging its oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights. If death results, the offense is charged as a Class 4 Felony. If "great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement" occurs, the offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor.
Illinois law provides specific guidelines for cell phone usage by commercial drivers (CDL holders - 625 ILCS 5/6-500, 5/6-525 and 5/6-527). A conviction is considered a "serious traffic violation" for CDL purposes. CDL drivers may not text while driving a commercial motor vehicle. In addition, a motor carrier may not allow its drivers to text while driving (this includes while the vehicle is temporarily stationary). The definition of texting is very broad and includes entering OR reading text from an electronic device and includes web browsing. Texting in order to communicate with emergency services is a listed exception. In addition, a driver may use GPS navigation systems and may press a single button to start or end a call.
If you have been issued a ticket for a cell phone violation, including using a wireless phone in a construction/maintenance zone or school zone, contact the attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. to discuss your case. Our traffic attorneys practice throughout Illinois including Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties. Our goal is to ensure the best possible result and keep your driving record clean.