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  • Reuland Law, LLC

Amended Law Against Distracted Driving

It's the first day of 2024, and Reuland Law is excited about an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code that goes into effect today. Illinois codified updates to a safety law that helps punish people who injure others because they are distracted by their cell phones while driving and using social media or video apps.



Drivers must pay attention to the road, not their phones.


This new law (Public Act 103-0310 codified at 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2) makes it illegal to drive a car while using an electronic communication device, like a cellphone or tablet, to stream video, participate in any type of video conferencing (like Zoom or Microsoft Teams), and even access any social media site while operating a motor vehicle. These amendments to the law hope to reduce instances where people are injured or killed by distracted driving.


Distracted driving is a major problem in Illinois and across the United States. The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation linked distracted driving to 3,522 fatalities and 362,415 injuries. You can read USDOT's Summary of Statistical Findings here. The Illinois State Police also have gathered startling statistics about districted driving, like how using a cellphone while driving makes someone 400% more likely to get into a crash. You can read more from the State Police here.





 

The new updates to the Illinois Vehicle Code are designed to reduce distracted driving and help prevent injuries and fatalities on the road. The full text of the statute can be found through the Illinois General Assembly's website, but the main sections worth knowing are below.


Section 12-610.2 of the Illinois Vehicle Code

Electronic Communication Devices


(a) "Electronic communication device" means an electronic device, including [...] a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, tablet, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include a global positioning system [...] that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.


(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device, including using an electronic communication device to watch or stream video, participate in any video conferencing application, including, but not limited to, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or WebEx, or access any social media site, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter.  


(b-5) A person commits aggravated use of an electronic communication device when he or she violates subsection (b) and in committing the violation he or she is involved in a motor vehicle crash that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, disfigurement, or death to another and the violation is a proximate cause of the injury or death. 


(c) A violation of this Section is an offense against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles. A person who violates this Section shall be fined a maximum of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense, except that a person who violates subsection (b-5) shall be assessed a minimum fine of $1,000.


 

Reuland Law, LLC commends Illinois lawmakers for making it crystal clear that our safety on the road depends on people not driving while distracted. There is no excuse for someone to injure or kill someone else because a driver felt compelled to write a text, take a Zoom call, or check their social media. Social media can wait. Dangerous drivers can now be charged with aggravated use of an electronic communication, a threat that will hopefully reduce distracted driving and prevent injury and death.


Attorney Tom Reuland handles personal injury cases in all parts of Illinois where the amendments to 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2 take effect. We help clients use the law to make a full recovery for what they have lost, whether the law has been on the books for decades or is a recent amendment that other attorneys might overlook. Free and confidential consultations are available.

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