Technology can disable cell phone use while driving, which could prevent many texting-related accidents. Illinois law prohibits the use of all hand-held devices while operating a motor vehicle. Calls, texts, and browsing the Internet are banned. Because it can be difficult to prove cell phone use, injured persons should contact a Chicago car accident attorney if texting may have caused an accident.
Illinois Laws On Cell Phone Use
State laws vary on cell phone usage. Illinois law prohibits drivers from using hand-held devices while driving. Hands-free options, such as Bluetooth are permitted in some circumstances. Drivers under 19 may not use a cell phone at all. Bus drivers are not allowed to use cell phones. Cell phones may not be used at all in school zones while driving. Using a phone is prohibited in construction zones.
Cell phones may be used during emergency situations and while communicating with emergency personnel. Drivers can pull over and stop the vehicle to make a call or text. Drivers can also use phones when the vehicle is stopped during a traffic jam if the transmission is in park or neutral.
Police officers may pull over drivers if they are using a cell phone. An officer does not need to witness another violation to stop a texting driver.
Penalties for cell phone use include:
- $75 fine
- $150 for repeat offenders
- Eventually suspension of driving privileges
- If a crash occurs, the distracted driver may face a year in prison
- If a fatal accident occurs, the distracted driver may face up to three years in prison
Why Are Cell Phones Laws Important?
Distracted driving is dangerous. 69% of drivers surveyed in the United States admitted to talking on their cell phone while driving in the month before being surveyed. 31% of drivers admitted to texting or emailing while driving.
A crash is 23 times more likely when someone is texting or reading a text. Drivers who are texting are six times more liable to have an accident than an intoxicated driver.
Cell phones are involved in around 1.6 million crashes every year. Around 300,000 people are injured and around 6,000 people die each year in the U.S. Victims should consider discussing the case with a Chicago car accident attorney, especially if cell phone use may have caused the crash.
Drop It and Drive Campaign
An estimated 800,000 cell phones are in use by drivers at any given time in the United States. Illinois has the “Drop It and Drive” campaign, which aims to prevent distracted driving. The campaign provides:
- Posters and fliers
- Public service announcements
- Window clings
- Logos for use on social media
How Technology Can Prevent Texting And Driving
Drivers can just turn off phones or put them away while driving. Technology can step in when drivers are unwilling to abstain from texting while driving.
There are apps available for iPhone and Android that prevent texting. These platforms allow parents or employers to control cell phone use while driving. The apps can be customized and are easy to manage from the master account. Driving reports and feedback on driving performance are also available using the apps.
Some devices are installed in the vehicle and require that a cell phone is inserted into the device before the car will start. If the phone is removed during operation, the car will not start again once turned off. Calls may be permitted using hands-free technology, at the discretion of the system administrator.
An Australian device can be built into the steering wheel or mounted on the dashboard of the vehicle. It can detect when the driver’s eyes are not focused on the road. The technology may also be used to alert drivers if they are too sleepy to drive.
Many mobile phone companies are considering options for built in blocks on phones while driving. Advocates claim that using technology to prevent texting is more reliable than expecting people to stop texting and driving.
A new technology that may be available soon gives law enforcement the advantage. A radar-like gun (similar to those that detect speed) can detect frequencies from a cell phone in use inside a moving car. The device can detect calls and texts individually. While potentially a powerful tool, opponents cite privacy concerns. It is unclear if the technology can determine if the driver or a passenger was using a device.
No Texting Means Safer Roads
Every driver must be responsible for their actions while operating a motor vehicle. Statistics show that texting while driving is even more dangerous than driving drunk. Anyone injured in an accident where cell phone use is suspected should consider a Chicago car accident attorney.