New Laws Seek to Curtail Cellphone Driving in Illinois

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Two cellphone driving laws came into effect at the beginning of the year in Illinois.  Although lawmakers did not go so far as to ban cellphone usage completely behind the wheel for all drivers, this is still seen as a step in the right direction as far as safety goes.  The Department of Transportation for the state supports these latest measures, which drivers should understand if they live in or even pass through the state.

First, a maintenance or construction area now signifies an area where it will be illegal for a driver to use a handheld cellphone in any way behind the wheel.  This is still the case even when a road work area does not necessarily entail a reduced speed limit.  A work area is a work area, and to preserve safety under these circumstances, the directives of the law should be followed.

The other distracted driving law passed concerns the operators of commercial vehicles, which in Illinois are defined as any vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds or transporting hazmat items or more than 16 people.  The drivers of such vehicles can no longer use their cellphones in any manner.  This is different from a previous law, which only required such drivers to refrain from texting at the wheel.  Recreational, military, and emergency vehicles are all exempt from this law.

Both the state Transportation Secretary and the Secretary of State extolled the virtues of the new laws.