House sends Quinn ban on using hand-held cell phones behind the wheelContinue reading.
Quinn signs legislation banning hand-held cell phone use while driving, toughens distracted-driving law
SPRINGFIELD-Motorists who like talking on the cell phone when they drive now could face fines and toughened criminal penalties if they injure or kill someone under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday.
The governor signed two different traffic-safety bills designed to get tough on distracted drivers.
“Distracted driving is not only danger, it’s deadly,” Quinn said in a prepared statement. “Too many Illinois famlies have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented.
“Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel. These new laws will save lives,” he said.
The first, House Bill 1247, expands on Illinois’ no-texting-while-driving statute by banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.
The new law, pushed by state Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) and Sen. John Mulroe (D-Chicago), allows the use of a cell phone if it’s in either hands-free or voice-operated mode, and headsets are allowed.
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, imposes a $75 fine for first offenses, $100 for second-time violations, a $125 fine for a third offense and $150 for fourth or subsequent violations.
The other related legislation Quinn enacted would subject drivers who are on their cell phones illegally to possible prison time if they’re involved in accidents that either injure or kill people.
Drivers involved in injury-causing accidents could face up to a year in prison
“If somebody was in a school zone talking on a cell phone and they ran someone over, and if they hurt them severely or killed them, they’d get written up for a $200 ticket. That’s it,” said state Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), the bill’s chief House sponsor.
“We’ve seen more horrific things by people distracted by video devices or cell phones, and the penalties on the books for those crimes are no more than a petty offense. It’s like their tail lights are out,” she said. “The main goal is public safety, and at the end of the day that’s what we really want.”