Drop It and Drive

 

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in Illinois.

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in Illinois. From 2012 through 2016, more than 8,400 crashes occurred in which some form of driver distraction involving a cellphone was cited by police, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Fifty-eight of them were fatal.

Eighty percent of the people who responded to a National Safety Council survey said they are not aware of the driver distraction and crash risks associated with using hands-free cell phones. The research indicates drivers using handheld and hands-free phones only see about 50 percent of all the information in their driving environment. It’s called, "inattention blindness."

Hand-Held Cellphone Ban in Illinois

Illinois was the 12th state to ban the use of hand-held devices while driving:

  • The 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 law imposes fees starting at $75 for drivers caught using a hand-held cellphone while driving.  Drivers could pay $150 for repeat offenses and may eventually have their drivers' licenses suspended. 
  • The law imposes stricter penalties following crashes in which electronic devices were being used at the time of collision. A crash causing great bodily harm can earn a driver up to one year in prison and a fatal crash can result in a prison sentence of up to three years.
     

Read the law

Join Our Campaign

There are many ways you can help spread the word about the hand-held cellphone ban in Illinois.

  • Post a poster or flier in your office, community center or place of worship.
  • Post the logo on your Facebook page or Twitter account.
  • Place an article in your newsletter.
  • Sound Off! Tell Us Your Story about the dangers of using a hand-held cellphone while driving.

Get the Facts

  • Nationally, the number of fatalities as a result of distracted driving increased to more than 3,450 in 2016 alone. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
  • From 2012 through 2016, more than 8,400 crashes occurred in which some form of driver distraction involving a cellphone was cited by police. Fifty-eight of them were fatal. (Illinois Department of Transportation)
  • In 2016, cellphone distractions were of more than 2,345 crashes in Illinois. (Illinois Department of Transportation)
  • About 1.3 million crashes nationwide – or 23 percent of the annual total – involve drivers using cellphones. (National Safety Council)
  • Surveyed annually, even though 95 percent of people know that texting while driving is distracting, 35 percent admit to doing it in 2017. (State Farm)
  • In 2017, more than 44 percent of drivers of all ages report having read a text message or email while behind the wheel in the last thirty days. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
  • In 2017, 82 percent of drivers acknowledge that talking their cellphone while driving is distracing — 50 percent of drivers still do it. (State Farm)
  • Drivers using hand-held cell phones are four times more likely to get into an accident causing injuries. (U.S. Department of Transportation)
  • The National Safety Council is recommending companies ban the use of cellphones for employees driving during work hours, and as of 2017, more than 469 employers nationwide have adopted the embargo.

 

 

How to Avoid Distracted Driving

If you must talk on the phone, use a speakerphone or headset that allows for voice-activated or one-digit dialing. Both are allowed under the state's new hands-free cellphone law.  Here are some other tips to avoid distracted driving:

  • Turn it off. Shut off your cellphone before you get in your car, then stow it out of sight and out of reach.
  • Stop first. If you have to make a call, pull over to a safe area, such as a rest stop or oasis, to make your call.
  • Ask a passenger. Have a passenger make a call or respond to a text for you.
  • Take control. Set climate controls and adjust seat and steering wheel before driving.
  • Spread the word. Record a message on your phone that warns callers you're driving and will get back to them later – or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
  • Be prepared. Program navigational devices or review written directions before you start to drive.
  • Finish first. Complete your personal grooming, dressing and eating before hitting the road.
  • Buckle up. Secure children and pets before beginning to drive. If they need attention, pull over before tending to them.

History

  • 2007: Distracted Drivers Task Force formed to study distracted driving in Illinois, with Secretary of State Jesse White as chairman.
  • August 2009: The bill is signed banning texting while driving. Law goes into effect on January 1, 2010.
  • July 2012: Law signed banning commercial truck drivers from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel. Law takes effect January 1, 2013.
  • May 2013: Illinois House and Senate approve law barring all hand-held cellphone use by all drivers. The law is signed on August 16.
  • January 2014: New law banning hand-held cellphone use takes effect in Illinois.