As of the first of this year, three new pieces of Illinois legislation have gone into effect to help reduce accidents due to distracted driving and to help clear lanes of traffic following an accident.
House Bill 5101 prohibits texting or the use of a hand held cellular phone while driving a commercial motor vehicle. Violation of this law is now considered a serious traffic violation. Although texting while driving has been forbidden by Illinois law for all vehicles, cell phone usage was still permitted. The new Illinois law now is in compliance with the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations law that prohibits texting and cellular phone usage by commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Senate Bill 2488 prohibits the use of cell phones in construction or maintenance speed zones regardless of the speed limit. Cell phone usage is still allowed in voice-operated (hands free) mode.
According to Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider, “People are tragically injured or killed in work zones and by commercial motor vehicles due to distracted driving. Cell phone distractions have been proven to be as dangerous as drinking and driving. These laws will stiffen distracted driving laws and save lives.”
Finally, Senate Bill 3409 allows the driver of a vehicle that has been involved in an accident that has resulted only in damage to the vehicle to move the vehicle off the highway to the nearest safe location. Examples of safe locations are exit ramp shoulders, frontage roads, cross streets or other locations that do not impede traffic. This bill essentially clarified the language in the previous law to help reduce the chances of secondary crashes and injuries by clarifying that it is okay to move the vehicles to a safe location while requirements concerning the duty to give information and render aid are fulfilled.