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Following the example of more than 10 other states, Illinois has now banned cell phone usage of all kinds while driving. Texting in Illinois was banned in 2010, and starting Jan. 1 of this year, using a hand-held cell phone to make calls is now illegal by Illinois state law, too, cell phone accident attorneys say.

What the law states

The law now strictly prohibits any hand-held cell phone usage by driver, including talking and texting. Passengers in the vehicle are still allowed to talk and text on phones. Calls may still be made on hand-held devices, however, in case of emergencies.

Penalties for those who injure or kill others in crashes while talking on cell phones will now increase as well.

In addition to physically making calls on phones, these laws are also in place: 

• “A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.” (2010)

• “A person regardless of age, may not use a wireless telephone at any time while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway in a school zone or in a construction zone.” (2005)

Bluetooth devices

The law was enacted with the hopes of decreases in cell phone accidents statewide, but some Illinois residents are left wondering how they will complete the daily phone calls to which they had become accustomed.

There is hope, though, for those  who still want to talk on their phones while driving: the use of Bluetooth wireless devices.

Many new cars already come equipped with Bluetooth devices for making hands-free calls while driving. If your car is an older model and does not have Bluetooth capabilities, you may buy a Bluetooth clip-on earpiece or Bluetooth speakers for the car.

Bluetooth devices do not enable texting, though, unless phones are equipped with voice recognition software or applications.

Staying safe

The best way to stay safe while driving is always to be alert, and that same mindset applies for driving with Bluetooth devices. Even though you or other drivers may be talking hands-free, you could still be susceptible to cell phone accidents if you are not alert to your surroundings.  

If you are in an accident with a driver who was talking on their cell phone, contact a cell phone accident attorney to learn about your rights.

 

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