Distracted Driving Law: What Illinoisans Need to Know
In August 2018, Former Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 4846 into law and takes effect very soon - on July 1, 2019. This bill serves to prevent texting while driving along with its devastating consequences, and will be affecting many violators who choose to use their personal electronics while behind the wheel.
Under this new legislation, distracted drivers will be issued a “moving violation” - which will appear on motorists’ driving record. No longer will violators be issued any warning ticket, as these moving violations will be administered upon the first offense along with a fine of $75 that will increase with each violation. Three moving violations within one year will result in a license suspension.
Conduct that constitutes a moving violation is not just limited to texting and talking on the phone, but rather utilizing a personal electronic without hands-free alternatives in any manner while driving. This even includes stopping at a stop sign or stoplight and sitting in traffic as well.
However, this new bill does include a handful of exceptions, including:
- Using an electronic to report an emergency
- Using hands-free mode
- Using an electronic while parked on the shoulder of the road
- Law enforcement officers using an electronic to perform official duties
Violations will result in monetary penalties, including $75 for the first offense, $100 for the second, $125 on the third, and $150 for each future offense. If bodily harm is a result of an offense, the violator will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the violation results in the death of another driver, the violator will be charged with a Class 4 felony. However, a bill to increase monetary penalties to $1,000 for accidents that cause great bodily harm has passed Senate and is heading to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk, according to Chicago Sun Times.
Violations Will Affect Your Rates
Depending on which state you live in, many insurance companies will take your driving record within the last three to five years into account to determine your auto insurance rates. With these harsher consequences put into play, you could be facing increased insurance rates along with the hefty fines that come with these violations. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, auto insurance premiums have increased by 16% on average since 2011 due to the significant increase in accidents caused by distracted driving.
Fines, rates, & driving record aside, we advise our customers to put the phone down when you’re behind the wheel - not only for the safety of others, but for your own safety as well. According to our friends at Cincinnati Insurance Companies, there are roughly nine deaths and over 1,000 injuries a day due to distracted driving – totaling up to more than 3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries annually. With these new laws being introduced, we hope to see those statistics decrease with each year that passes.
No text, phone call, email, snapchat - anything - is worth your life or someone else’s. It can wait.
For more information regarding your auto insurance policy, be sure to contact a specialist at TROXELL at 217-528-7533 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Contact your local TROXELL insurance agent for coverage advice and policy service. Neither TROXELL nor its affiliates or representatives offer legal advice. Consult with your attorney about your specific situation.