Drivers trying to use certain electronic devices while they are behind the wheel has resulted in an increase in distracted driving accidents. Due to this increase, the state of Illinois introduced a number of changes to their distracted driving laws in order to cut down on the number of people getting into accidents because they were too focused on sending a text message or looking something up.
Device use While Driving
According to the new laws, drivers in Illinois who use electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, personal digital assistants, laptops or netbooks, or any other portable electronic device may be charged with reckless endangerment or other similar charges and be required to pay for damages incurred on any injured parties as a result of their distracted driving. However, whether or not this becomes a factor depends on if the driver who caused the crash was indifferent to the safety of fellow drivers or was taking any kind of unreasonable risk at the time of the accident.
Exceptions to these restrictions
Despite these limitations, however, there are several circumstances where drivers may use electronic devices while driving. These exceptions can include the following.
- Using the device to report an emergency.
- Using it in a hands-free mode.
- If the device is in a voice-operated mode.
- When parked on the shoulder of a road.
- When traffic is at a stand-still and the car in park or neutral.
People who repeatedly use electronic devices while driving or whose violations are especially serious may face serious consequences for their actions, up to and including time in prison and fines. First and second violators can face a maximum fine of $1,000, but most motorists opt to not go to court and just pay a $120 fine. Third and subsequent violations are considered to be a class-C misdemeanor, and that carries a maximum fine of $1,500 (but again, most opt to not go to court and just pay the $120 fine).
A violation of the electronic device law that results in bodily harm, disability, disfigurement, or even death is considered a class-A misdemeanor and has far more serious penalties. If no death occurred, a class-A misdemeanor means at least up to one year in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines. If a death did occur, a driver can face three to six years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
What is more likely to result from violations is charges of a more civil nature, specifically that a driver responsible for this kind of reckless behavior would have to cover any damages inflicted on other involved parties as a result of their actions.
Distracted Driving Accidents
If you have been the victim of an incident of distracted driving in Illinois and need help seeking damage compensation for any injuries or damage incurred, then contact Benassi & Benassi, P.C. for assistance with this matter.