Illinois has decided to crack down more severely on any drivers texting behind the wheel.
Starting July 1, 2019, any driver who is caught texting while driving will be given a moving violation that goes on his or her driving record. Illinois drivers who are issued three moving violations within a 12-month period, risk their license being suspended. The current law, which took effect in 2014, states that any first offense for texting while behind the wheel is treated as a non-moving violation and does not affect the driver’s driving record. However, a fine will still be applied on the first offense. Although this fine was meant to deter drivers from using their phones to text while driving, the results were not quite as successful as had been hoped for. This new law will be put in effect in hopes of improving safety on the roads, especially where texting and driving are involved. According to U.S. News Report that the new law was being implemented because distracted driving had become an even more serious problem, as stated by Secretary of State Jesse White back in August 2018. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that at least 25 percent of crashes reported to the police had involved distracted driving.
New Law Hopes to Encourage More Caution and Awareness
In 2019, over a dozen new transportation-related laws will go into effect in Illinois including these harsher penalties for any distracted drivers. Again, the higher penalties for texting while driving are an attempt by Illinois to increase road safety for everyone. Instead of allowing drivers to avoid more severe consequences for a first-time violation, this new law will hopefully encourage drivers to be even more careful when thinking about whether or not they should be texting while driving. The new penalties should remind drivers that there are significant consequences for an action that might seem, in their minds, to be fairly quick, simple, and not too dangerous. As compared to today’s current laws, which treats the first offense as a non-moving violation and subsequent violations as moving violations, the consequence of a first-time offense being treated as a moving violation and the possibility of the suspension of his or her license after three moving violations within 12 months for anyone who is willing to text while driving after July 1, 2019 is noticeably more severe.
According to Trial Magazine, 2018 saw the most pedestrian deaths, at a total of 6,227, in the U.S. This is based off of a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This number shows a 35% increase in pedestrian deaths as compared to previous decades. This statistic states that five states, (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) had accounted for at least 46% of these pedestrian deaths. Despite Illinois not being included in the list of those five states, pedestrian safety is still a great concern here. For Illinois to move forward in preventative measures for texting while driving is an important step in improving road safety. There are plenty of other states with significantly more aggressive consequences but with this new law, Illinois is hoping to curb the growing rate of distracted driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that it was six times more dangerous to drive a vehicle while texting as compared to driving while intoxicated. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, a total of 1,090 people died on Illinois roads in 2017. Overall, the implementation of this new law will hopefully improve safety precautions taken by drivers in Illinois when it comes to texting and driving and will encourage drivers to think twice before texting while on the road.