A new year often brings with it new laws, and 2014 is no exception. A number of new laws took effect in Illinois on January 1, 2014, including the following driving laws:
- Handheld cell phone use is prohibited throughout the entire state of Illinois. Drivers are now required to use a Bluetooth headset or speakerphone if they want to talk on the phone while driving, and drivers caught using a handheld phone (except in the case of emergencies) may be subject to a fine of at least $75.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois joins about 12 other states that have similar handheld cell phone bans. Even before the statewide handheld cell phone ban took effect on January 1, several municipalities, including Chicago, had already restricted cell phone use while driving, which created a “complicated patchwork” of laws. The new statewide ban on handheld cell phone use eliminates this confusion and keeps drivers safe by minimizing the risks of distracted driving.
- The penalties imposed on distracted drivers who injure or kill another motorist are increased. Distracted drivers who injure another motorist now face penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and less than a year of jail time if convicted. Distracted drivers involved in a fatal car accident could be charged with a Class 4 felony, for which a conviction carries fines of up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time.
The Chicago Tribune reports that, in Illinois, almost 6,000 crashes occurred between 2008 to 2012 in which some form of cell phone-related driver distraction was involved, 30 of which were fatal car crashes.
- Speed limits on rural Illinois highways increased from 65 to 70 mph. Although the speed limit increased on several Illinois highways, that does not mean that drivers need to drive that fast. Illinois State Police Lieutenant Glen Schwartz reminded drivers that this is the maximum limit and that there are a number of things to consider when you travel the maximum speed limit, including traffic congestion, traffic flow, and road conditions. Although the increased speed limit impacts nearly 90% of Illinois’s interstate highways, most of the highways in and around Chicago remain 65 mph. In the Chicago area, the 70-mph limit will be posted only on five fairly short stretches of interstate, including sections of I-80 and I-55 in Will County, a stretch of I-57 in far southern Cook County and all of Will County, a portion of the I-88 toll road in far western Kane County, and part of the I-94 tollway in northern Lake County.
At Ankin Law Office, LLC, our Chicago auto accident lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of distracted driving and speeding accidents. Our skilled Illinois auto accident attorneys have vast legal knowledge regarding auto accident lawsuits, along with considerable experience representing clients in distracted driving lawsuits, which allows us to effectively advocate on behalf of our clients.
If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by distracted driving or speeding, contact one of our Chicago car accident attorneys to learn more about how we can help you seek financial recovery through a personal injury lawsuit.