For years, the Illinois Tollway has fought against the increase in distracted driving across our system. In 2009, the Illinois Legislature first took on the issue of distracted driving by advancing a state law banning texting while driving. In response to this new law, the Tollway joined forces with elected officials and the transportation industry by launching the Drop It and Drive campaign to raise awareness of the dangers and penalties for holding a phone while driving.
This year, Illinois is taking these efforts a step further, tightening restrictions and increasing penalties for the use of handheld cell phones and electronic devices by drivers in a moving vehicle. That law takes effect today.
Now, using any mobile device that is not hands-free while driving is a moving violation with stiffer penalties, including suspending the drivers licenses of repeat offenders. This includes holding a mobile device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic. And Gov. Pritzker is considering legislation to increase fines, in some cases, for first-time violators to $1,000 to further discourage distracted driving.
The Illinois Tollway has encouraged drivers to turn off their phones whenever they get behind the wheel—which it believes is the best way to avoid distracted driving and instead focus on driving safely. The tollway apparently doesn’t agree that answering your phone on a Bluetooth device is any safer than texting, which seems ridiculous.