July Brings New Changes to Distracted Driving Penalty
July 1st marks the inauguration of new distracted driving enforcements. Illinois state representatives and law enforcement officials are tightening the reigns on the citations given when a driver is in violation of distracted driving laws. Using a cellphone while driving is prohibited in the state of Illinois however, just a warning will no longer be issued on the first offense. A moving violation will be given along with a fine of $75. For every offense following the fine will increase as follows, 2nd offense $100, 3rd offense $125, and $150 for all future offenses. This law is not only limited to cellphones but will apply to all electronic communication devices. These new rules are being put into place to help us prevent fatal automobile collisions by eliminating distractions and focusing on the road at all times.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. With about 1,000 reported accidents, 9 people die each day from distracted drivers.
What are the types of distracted driving?
There are three main types. Visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual, includes anything that could cause you to take your eyes off of the road. Manual, meaning anything that would cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive, anything that would cause your mind to drift. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. When you send or read a text message you are taking your eyes off the road for about five seconds. This is the same amount of time it takes to cover the length of a football field if you are traveling at 55 MPH. It is important to assume responsibility for our actions and implement preventative measures into our daily routines that can help protect ourselves and others. Installing hands-free devices or placing your cellphone out of arms reach will both reduce distractions and make the roads safer for everyone.
Who is the most at risk?
Teenage drivers under the age of twenty are the most at risk. This age group has the highest percentage of distraction-related fatal collisions. In a study, 42% of high school drivers, who had reported driving in the past 30 days, reported sending a text or email while driving. Those who have reported texting while driving are more likely to drive without wearing a seatbelt, more likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking, and more likely to drink and drive. These are the types of situations these new laws aim to abolish. In the past year, Illinois law enforcement officials issued 15,150 distracted driving violations.
Distracted driving is a dangerous activity and should not be taken light-heartedly. We must hold ourselves accountable but unfortunately, we cannot always be responsible for the actions of others. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to an accident due to distracted driving you may be eligible for compensation from the responsible party to help with your injuries, property damages, and emotional and physical suffering. Call a Spiros Law attorney in our Danville office at (217) 443-4343 to explore your options.