Illinois recently passed new cell phone talking and texting laws. There is some confusion surrounding the recently passed cell phone texting and talking laws in Illinois. Are drivers allowed to talk or text while stopped at a light? Are hands free devices required to talk while driving?
The Illinois texting law prohibits a person from “using an electronic device to compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway.” The law goes on to define electronic devices as cell phones and portable computers, however the law does not include devices that are integrated into the vehicle such as GPS or navigation systems.
There are a few exceptions to the texting law. Drivers are allowed to text if they are reporting an emergency, using a voice activated texting program, if they are parked on the shoulder of the road or if the vehicle is stopped in the normal flow of traffic and the vehicle is in neutral or park.
The Illinois cell phone law is less restrictive. Currently using a cell phone while driving in Illinois is permitted without a hands free device as long as the driver is not driving in a construction zone, driving in a school zone or driving in a city, like Chicago, that has prohibited talking on cell phones while driving.
The Illinois cell phone and texting laws serve a purpose and need to be followed. The National Safety Council has linked 28 percent of all accidents to texting or talking on cell phones. Another study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that the probability for motor vehicle accidents increases by 20 times if drivers are texting. While the laws vary and it may get a little complicated understanding all the exceptions, it is always best to be safe and avoiding texting or talking while driving.