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Could Texting and Driving Cost Me My Illinois Driver’s License?

Posted on in Traffic Offenses

McHenry County traffic defense lawyerBy now, we have all seen and heard the campaigns encouraging us to put our phones down while driving. Over the last few years, safety groups and even the cell service carriers themselves have consistently reminded drivers to stop texting while driving. Unfortunately, the public does not seem to be heeding these warnings. A law that was passed last year, however, made it possible for Illinois drivers to lose their driving privileges for illegally using their phones while driving. If you are a person who struggles to put your phone down behind the wheel, you should know the potential risks of such behavior.

Disappointing Texting and Driving Statistics

State Farm, an insurance industry leader, recently conducted a survey to gauge attitudes among the general public about using a cell phone while driving. The results of the survey suggested that most people realize the dangers, but far too many drivers use their phones anyway. Over 80 percent of respondents reported that they knew that using a handheld cell phone to make or receive calls was dangerous, but fully one-half of respondents acknowledged they used a handheld device for calls while driving. Nearly all of the survey’s participants—95 percent—said they knew that texting while driving was dangerous and distracting, but more than one-third—35 percent—said they text in spite of the dangers.

In the state of Illinois, it is and has been against the law to use a cell phone or another electronic device to send and receive messages, use apps, and access internet sites while driving. Talking on a cell phone without using a speakerphone or a hands-free function is also illegal. The penalty for a first-time violation is a fine of $75, and a second offense will result in a fine of $100. The fine increases to $125 for a third violation, and a fourth or subsequent offense is punishable by a fine of $150.

Moving Violation Penalties in Illinois

Until last year, a driver’s violation of the law prohibiting cell phone use while driving was considered a non-moving violation. This means that the violation did not go on the person’s driving record. However, last year, Illinois lawmakers reclassified offenses related to the use of electronic devices while driving as moving violations. Under the current law, a first offense could potentially trigger a driver’s license suspension for the offender, depending on other recent moving violations on the driver’s record.

In Illinois, a driver who is convicted of three separate moving violations in a single 12-month period is subject to an automatic suspension of his or her driving privileges. If a driver is under age 21, the suspension occurs after two moving violations in 24 months. The duration of the automatic suspension is based on the number of “points” generated by the convictions. The law assigns point values to each moving violation, with an increasing number of points for more serious violations. Suspensions can range from 60 days up to one year, and license revocation is possible in extreme situations.

A Crystal Lake Traffic Violations Attorney Can Help

If you already have other violations on your record, texting while driving could lead to you losing your driving privileges, even for a first offense. The good news is you may have options that could allow you to keep your license and stay on the road. Contact an experienced McHenry County traffic citations defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC to learn more. Call 815-338-3838 and schedule a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://newsroom.statefarm.com/8th-state-farm-distracted-driving-survey/

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-610.2

https://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/092/09201040sections.html

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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