SPRINGFIELD (Illinois) – A new law in Illinois enhances the punishment for texting behind the wheel.
Starting in July 2019, drivers caught using cell phones while driving will not only get fined, but it will count as a moving violation that could lead to license suspension.
The new law signed this week by Gov. Bruce Rauner now makes the first ticket for texting and driving a moving offense. That means it goes on the offender’s record and can lead to a suspension if they commit two other violations in the next year.
The $75 fine would still apply on the first offense.
Jesse White’s office fought for the stricter penalties. The bill passed with wide margins.
“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and throughout the nation,” White said. “This important legislation will make our roads safer. No driver should be texting while driving.”
The issue has become ubiquitous in recent years.
“You see so many people, instead of focusing on driving, they’re texting or looking at their phones,” said Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt.
Texting and driving has been shown to be more dangerous than drunken driving.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, at least 25 percent of police-reported crashes involve some form of distracted driving. They say driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Only nine states in the nation don’t have laws against texting and driving.