What happens if I drive and use my cell phone?

Wanna make a quick call to tell your wife or your buddy that you are a few minutes away? The year-old ban on using a handheld electronic device such as a cell phone could be a hefty ticket. Police departments within the Tri-County area are not consistent with their enforcement of the cell phone ban and as such, motorists need to be wary and aware of the laws in place as an officer are allowed to pull a person over if they see them using a phone.

Section 625, Paragraph 5/12 of the Illinois Complied Statues outlines a ban on all cell phones. The law does allow drivers over the age of 18 to use a hands-free device as such as a speakerphone or a Bluetooth device. Drivers under 19 are banned from even using those devices.

No one can use a cell phone or a hands-free device within a school zone or a construction zone. Also, new drivers are prohibited from using any device. But, if a person is allowed to make a call on a wireless phone if they are using that phone to report an emergency.

Police are allowed to pull a driver if they see them using their phone. Such an offense is known as a petty offense and can carry a fine of $75 for the first offense and go up incrementally.

All drivers, regardless of their age or where they are on the road, are banned from texting. 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2(b) states that in plain English: “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.”

But there are exceptions to the anti-texting law. It doesn’t apply to police officers nor does it apply to a person who is using an electronic device to report and to continue a conversation with emergency officials such as police or dispatchers .it doesn’t doesn’t apply if a person has their device set up for hands-free texing or if they are parked on the shoulder of the road.

Here’s a link to the actual public act… http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=096-0130

 

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