SPRINGFIELD — Illinois motorists could face a $75 fine if they are caught using their cellphone without a hands-free device beginning Jan. 1.

In action Friday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the new rule into law, as well as a proposal that increases the penalties where any use of an electronic device while driving is the cause of an accident.

“Distracted driving is not only dangerous — it’s deadly,” Quinn said in a prepared statement. “Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented. Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel. These new laws will save lives.”

The new hands-free driving law comes after Illinois lawmakers already banned texting while driving. They also earlier made it illegal to talk on a cellphone while driving through a school zone or a construction zone.

In adopting House Bill 1247, Illinois becomes the 12th state — and the first in the Midwest — to prohibit the use of a hand-held cellphone while driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Quinn cited statistics showing that distracted driving caused 387,000 injuries and more than 3,000 fatalities across the country in 2011.

The bill’s sponsor in the House said the law will help reduce those numbers.

“When motorists are on the phone, they are not giving their full attention to the most important task they have,” state Rep. John D’Amico said in a statement.

The governor also approved House Bill 2585, which boosts penalties to up three years in prison if a motorist causes a fatal accident while using an electronic device.

In the meantime, Quinn used his veto pen to strike down House Bill 3139, a proposal to allow drivers to provide insurance cards digitally.

Supporters said electronic identification cards — which could be shown to police via a smartphone — are more convenient and can help reduce time spent addressing tickets issued because drivers forgot or misplaced the paper cards.

Contact Erickson at kurt.erickson@lee.net or 217-782-4043.

(6) comments

gringa

I'm sure that just after Quinn and the other clowns in Springfield settle the bankruptcy issue that's pressing the whole state of Illinois right now, he'll take up driver distraction caused by eating a burger or a taco from one hand and sipping a Coke from the other. Or, for that matter, the distraction caused by listening to Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin on the radio. He'll come up with a mandatory sentence of 5 years of hard labor for listening to conservative talk radio.

OLD73

Finally, a law out of these idiots that makes some sense. Doesn't really matter what Limbaugh or Levin thinks.

Hary P
Hary P

.

It does to people who get their "news" from people like those two rabble rousers.


jrhendren
jrhendren

New CMU study says talking on cellphone does not increase car crashes

New research from Carnegie Mellon University...In collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science, the study uses data from a major cellphone provider and accident reports to contradict previous research that connected cellphone use to increase crash risk. - Pittsburgh Business Times, Aug 8, 2013

Though I agree with the law for use in populated areas.

gringa

"Supporters said electronic identification cards — which could be shown to police via a smartphone — are more convenient and can help reduce time spent addressing tickets issued because drivers forgot or misplaced the paper cards."

Hard copy insurance cards are totally useless, a waste of time and trees. The insurance coverage could have been cancelled the day after the card was mailed. Electronic ID cards are real time proof of coverage.

liamreyns887

Virtually everyone agrees that texting while driving is dangerous, but the study shows that cellphone laws do not equal safer roads. accidents increased among drivers 25 and under. The law compels texting drivers to hold their phones lower to avoid being seen, which significantly increases the level of distraction. Ask cash assistance if accidents happen.

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