In Illinois, the New Year will bring with it new laws aimed at curbing what has become known as “distracted driving,” or driving while performing other tasks such as talking on a cell phone, checking email or texting. Such laws are designed to limit the number of serious, and often deadly, car accidents. To speak with a top-rated car accident lawyer in Chicago, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.
The new traffic laws, House Bill 71 and House Bill 72, were signed into law in August of this year and take effect on Friday, January 1, 2010. The following activities will be illegal while driving in Illinois:
• Composing a text, email or instant message
• Sending a text, email or instant message
• Reading a text, email or instant message
• Surfing the Internet
• Using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
• Using a portable or mobile computer
In essence, using any electronic device while driving in the state of Illinois will be illegal. The only exceptions are use of global positions systems (GPS) navigation system, either portable devices or those built into dashboard system.
Vehicle accidents can be catastrophic, and are often caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto crash attorney as soon as possible. Accidents caused by the failure to adhere to these new laws may be considered evidence of negligence.
Along with bans on texting while driving, new laws address driving through construction and school zones. Beginning Friday (New Year’s Day), it will be illegal to talk on a hand-held cell phone while in a construction or school zone. The important phrase is “hand-held.” You are still permitted to talk on a cell phone using Bluetooth or other hands-free device while driving through a construction or school zone.
Additionally, the new laws also address auto insurance. Starting Friday, motorists who do not have insurance and who are involved in a car accident that causes bodily harm will be charged with, at minimum, a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison, and/or a fine of up to $2,500. If you have been seriously injured in a car or truck accident, contact the Chicago injury lawyers of Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.