The new law bans hand-held cellphone use except in an emergency and
allows only for speakerphones and headsets that feature
voice-activated or one-digit dialing. The new law, which took effect
Jan. 1, also imposes fines starting at $75 for drivers caught using
a hand-held cellphone while driving. Violators could pay $150 for
repeat offenses and eventually have their driver's licenses
"Distracted driving is a problem in Illinois and across
the nation," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "This important campaign will help
ensure the message gets through loud and clear – if you use a
hand-held device while driving, you will get a ticket. Together, we
can make Illinois' roads safer."
"These new laws are critical to making Illinois' roads safer,"
said Secretary of State Jesse White. "Through this new campaign, we
are getting the message out there to motorists that no phone call,
text message, status update or tweet is as important as the lives of
"Driving while using a hand-held cellphone is dangerous and can
be deadly," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
"Our goal is to educate drivers about the cellphone ban and,
ultimately, reduce the number of crashes caused by distracted
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers using
hand-held phones are four times more likely to get into a crash that
causes injuries. At any given time of day, about 800,000 people are
using hand-held cellphones while driving, according to the National
Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
"In Illinois, nearly 6,000 crashes occurred from 2008 to 2012 in
which some form of driver distraction involving a cellphone was
cited by police," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L.
Schneider. "All of these crashes are preventable —
so we urge all Illinois motorists to just 'Drop It and Drive.'"
Illinois is the 12th state to ban the use of hand-held devices
while driving. Texting while driving has been illegal in Illinois
since 2010. Under the new state law, there are also stricter
penalties following crashes in which electronic devices were being
used at the time of collision. A crash causing great bodily harm can
send a driver to prison for up to one year, and a fatal crash can
result in a prison sentence of up to three years. The previous law
only allowed drivers to be charged with traffic violations.
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"One hand off the wheel and talking on the cellphone or
texting while driving is a dangerous risk with tragic
consequences," said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau.
"Our officers and law enforcement partners across Illinois will
have zero tolerance for motorists who choose to violate these
laws, and we want to remind everyone about the consequences."
The public awareness campaign will include posters placed on
tollbooths, in retail outlets, rest stops, oases and driver's
license facilities; public service announcements on radio,
television and billboards; window clings; mailing inserts; signage
on roadway message boards; newsletter articles; and other tools to
help educate Illinois residents about the ban on hand-held
cellphones. The campaign will also feature a website with
downloadable public service announcements, ready-to-print fliers and
posters, a fact sheet, and links to other useful online resources.
"It is our goal to get the word out that using hand-held devices
while driving is not only an unnecessary risk that puts lives in
danger, but it is also against the law in Illinois," said Brad Brad
Roeber, AAA Chicago regional president. "We encourage motorists to
drive responsibly by staying fully focused on the task of driving
every time they get behind the wheel."
For more information, visit
Illinois Department of
Transportation file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]