By Jim Hagerty
The Illinois Tollway, along with other state agencies, launched a public awareness campaign Tuesday, Feb. 11, to educate drivers about the handheld cellphone ban.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, handheld mobile phones are banned while driving. Drivers will be fined $75 for their first offense, $150 for repeat violations and eventually have their licenses suspended. The new law allows for emergency calls and speakerphones and headsets that feature voice-activated or one-digit dialing.
“Distracted driving is a problem in Illinois and across the nation,” said Gov. Pat Quinn (D). “This important campaign will help ensure the message gets through loud and clear – if you use a hand-held device while driving, you will get a ticket. Together, we can make Illinois’ roads safer.”
“Driving while using a hand-held cellphone is dangerous and can be deadly,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Our goal is to educate drivers about the cellphone ban and, ultimately, reduce the number of crashes caused by distracted driving.”
The public awareness campaign will include informative posters, radio, newspaper and television public service announcements and billboards. A website with downloadable public service announcements, ready-to-print fliers and posters, a fact sheet and links to other useful online resources is also available.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers using hand-held phones are four times more likely to get into a serious accident. More than 700,000 people use mobile phones while driving each day.
The campaign is also sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and AAA .