The widespread prevalence of cellphones has increased people’s ability to communicate with one another, even while mobile. While this has many benefits, such as the ability to have a conversation while stuck in traffic, there is also a dangerous dark side when people are on the phone or texting while driving. The ability to perform simple motor skills while driving decreases with the distraction of cell phone use. The National Transportation Safety Board even acknowledged that the danger associated with this decreased ability to drive can rival the effects of inebriation on a person’s ability to drive safely.
According to a March 3rd article in the Chicago Tribune, state Rep. John D’Amico is trying to remedy this danger in Illinois by introducing legislation which would uniformly address cell phone use by motorists in the state.
D’Amico’s bill would see that motorists stopped by police on the phone while driving without a hands-free device receive a moving violation rather than an equipment violation, as it is currently categorized. To get an idea of the legal repercussions of this law, note that in Illinois, drivers who rack up three moving violations (such as speeding) within a 12-month period can lose their licenses.
This law would affect many motorists as it is vastly increasing the scope of coverage in Illinois. In fact, the article cites a Chicago Tribune survey of 270 municipalities in the Chicago area which showed that approximately “…one-quarter have local ordinances governing cellphone use. Chicago itself outlaws drivers from using a cellphone unless it is equipped with a hands-free device.” This extension of the Chicago ordinance to the other three-quarters of Chicago-area municipalities would “put some teeth in these bills,” D’Amico said.
While adhering to this law may be difficult due to the increased reliance we have on cell phones, there should be less confusion about cell phone laws when passing from town to town. And this could also lead to an increase in motorist and pedestrian safety.
Of course, even with the most stringent laws, there will still be those who will continue to use their cell phone while driving. If you suffer an injury due to this type of negligence, contact one of the personal injury lawyers of Malman Law. Our attorneys strive to deliver compassionate and attentive service for clients who have been injured as a result of distracted drivers.