Will the new distracted driving rules reduce vehicle crashes?

Tougher restrictions on distracted driving in Illinois went into effect on Jul 1, 2019, putting new penalties put in place.

Distracted driving is an ongoing problem the state is trying to fix. Will the new rules help?

About distracted driving

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the percentage of motorists who use handheld devices to send or receive text messages ticked up from 1.7% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014. This kind of risky multitasking can result in a devastating crash since texting takes the driver’s eye off the road for at least five seconds. As those who study this dangerous activity frequently point out, five seconds of inattention to operating a vehicle is “like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.” However, texting is not the only form of distracted driving. The driver could be eating lunch, drinking coffee, reaching for something that fell on the floor, adjusting the car radio, talking to someone in the back seat—the list of possible distractions seems endless.

The new rules in Illinois

Illinois made texting while driving illegal in 2010, however, officials felt the necessity for a stricter law. Therefore, as of July 1, 2019, a law enforcement officer may issue a moving violation to a driver caught texting, and this will go onto his or her record. Drivers who collect three moving violation convictions within a year face the suspension of their driving privileges. As to fines, violators pay $75 for a first offense. That increases to $100 for the second offense, $125 for the third and $150 for all subsequent texting while driving offenses.

Next steps

As reported in The Chicago Tribune, Illinois State Police passed out 15,150 distracted driving citations in 2018. Who knows how many crashes the new rules will prevent? As it stands, a major issue for victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers is that they do not know the other driver is texting or otherwise distracted until it is too late to take evasive action. If you should find yourself in this position and dealing with injuries, you can depend on the help of an advocate who will protect your rights and work to negotiate a full and fair insurance settlement on your behalf.