Proposed Law Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Illinois Drivers

In the last few years, the dangers of distracted driving have been highly publicized and resulted in a wave of new safety legislation intended to keep the roads safe. While distracted driving can involve any action that takes the driver's attention off of driving, including talking with passengers and eating and drinking, much legislation has focused on limiting the use of cell phones while behind the wheel.

According to one study, drivers are four times more likely to be involved in accidents serious enough to injure themselves when using a hand-held device such as a cell phone. Carnegie Mellon reports that drivers' brain activity associated with driving is reduced by 37 percent when using a cell phone while driving.

Distracted Driving Laws in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that more than 500 Illinois car accidents involved cell phone distraction in the first half of 2010, and this is with a law banning texting while driving. Because cell phones pose distractions to drivers beyond texting, new legislation has been introduced in Illinois to further limit drivers' use of cell phones.

Under current law, all drivers in Illinois are prohibited from texting while driving, and drivers under the age of 18 are completely banned from using a cell phone, including with hands-free technology.

The proposed law introduced by state Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) would ban the use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers, but still allow for hands-free usage. However, Rep. May considers this legislation only a stepping stone on the path to a complete cell phone ban while driving.

A second piece of legislation has been introduced by state Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago). Very similar to Rep. May's bill, Rep. D'Amico's bill would ban all hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel, but allow for hands-free technology. Last year he also filed legislation requiring police reports to document whether a cellular device contributed to a collision.

If You are Injured by a Distracted Driver

Accidents resulting from distracted driving can cause very serious injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver.