A new Illinois traffic law takes effect on July 1, which will eliminate a free pass to first time offenders caught texting and driving. If someone is pulled over for texting and driving, and the officer has probable cause to believe the driver was in fact using their phone while driving, they will be issued a ticket rather than a warning. The previous law allowed drivers who were first time offenders to receive a warning.
More importantly, the new law also means that the ticket is a moving violation, which is misdemeanor in Illinois rather than a simple ordinance violation. In Illinois, your license will become suspended if you receive three (3) moving violations within a twelve (12) month period.
The law means no texting, talking, accessing the maps app and so on, unless with hands-free phone technology such as Bluetooth. It is also illegal to text or talk while holding a device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic.
I have been writing about texting and driving laws for years and the need for stiffer penalties. Hopefully now that drivers know that they will be charged with a misdemeanor, and could affect their pocket book and ultimately their right to driver, they will be more willing to put their phones down while driving.
If you receive a ticket, this does not necessarily mean it should be automatically paid. Drivers have the right to go to court and contest the ticket. In fact, if you do not think you have violated the statute and were wrongly ticketed, I recommend hiring an attorney and going to court to contest the ticket.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.