DETROIT, Mich. — One of Illinois’ newest laws went into effect recently, and all motorists must beware. The Detroit Free Press reported that Illinois is a hands-free state. The implications of enacting that law are widespread. The new law prohibits motorists from having a cellular phone or other devices like a tablet or laptop, in their hands while driving. The law is all-inclusive. There is no exception for setting navigation or changing a radio station. The law penalizes texting, calling, and otherwise manipulating a mobile device in any manner. If law enforcement catches drivers, officers have the authority to issue tickets with expensive fines that could ultimately lead to license suspension.
The law leaves some room for people to incorporate mobile devices into their daily driving. There is no penalty for calling for emergency services. Additionally, pulling over to the shoulder of the road and using the device is permitted. Using your device while the car is parked or in neutral while waiting for a road obstruction, such as a passing train, to clear, is permitted under the new law. Bluetooth can be used provided that the motorist is over 18, and not driving in a construction zone, school zone, or within 500 feet of an emergency situation.
The Illinois law imposes fines on a graduated basis starting at $75.00 and increasing by $25.00 up to a fourth and subsequent offense. The law permits suspension of a driver’s license if the driver commits three or more violations in one year.
Minnesota will become the 19th state or territory in the U.S. to adopt a complete ban on mobile device use in motor vehicles. Other states have prohibitions against texting while driving. However, those laws are difficult to enforce because they are too restrictive. Only a hands-free law allows law enforcement officers to remove offenders from the road.
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