Law bans text messaging while driving, cell phone use in school and construction zones

Legislation proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to strengthen the laws on distracted driving was signed into law Aug. 6 by Gov. Pat Quinn.

House Bills 71 and 72, sponsored in the House by State Reps. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) and Bill Black (R-Danville), will strengthen Illinois laws on distracted driving. HB 71 bans text messaging while driving. HB 72 bans cell phone use while driving in school or construction zones. The measures were sponsored in the Senate by Senators Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) and Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), respectively. Both laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2010.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 25 percent of police-reported crashes involve some form of driver inattention.

With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem in our state and in the nation,

said Secretary of State Jesse White.
These laws are important and will make our roads safer.”

The penalty for violating either of these measures results in a moving violation that will go on the motorist’s driving record as well as accompanying fines and court costs to be determined by the judge.

The legislation is based on recommendations made by the state’s Distracted Driving Task Force, of which White served as chairman. The task force, created by Joint House Resolution 22, met three times last year to discuss and examine ways to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving.

Distraction occurs when a driver is delayed in the recognition needed to safely accomplish the driving task, because something within or outside the vehicle draws his attention away from driving.

from the Aug 12-18, 2009 issue

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