An Illinois truck accident lawyer at our firm recently learned that an Illinois cell phone ban for truckers is now in effect as of January 1st. A report on Chicagotribune.com states that the Illinois Department of Transportation has supported three important pieces of legislation that are specifically aimed at reducing cell phone use while driving, in addition to clearing lanes of traffic immediately following motor vehicle accidents.
The first piece of legislation alters a previous Illinois law, which prohibited texting while driving for all vehicles but permitted cell phones. Now, new legislation prohibits texting or using a hand-held phone while driving a commercial motor vehicle and makes this a serious traffic violation.
The second piece of legislation prohibits cell phone use in construction or maintenance speed zones. This rule must be followed regardless of the speed limit in these zones. The report states that motorists are allowed to use cell phones in voice-operated mode with the use of a headset, or cell phones used with single button activation. In response to this legislation, an Illinois Transportation Secretary stated, “People are tragically injured and 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.”
Authorities confirm that the dangers of texting while driving compare to those of drinking and driving, as each text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for about five seconds. In general, cell phone usage while driving increases the chances of getting into a car or truck accident by almost 25%. By refraining from using your cell phone, you are ultimately keeping the roads safe from distracted drivers.
Finally, the report states that the third piece of legislation allows the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to the vehicle to move the vehicle off the highway to the nearest safe location. These locations include, but are not limited to: an exit ramp shoulder, a cross street, a frontage road, or a location that does not obstruct traffic. The law states the driver should remain at that location until authorities have been contacted and aid is given to those who need it.
“The decisions made immediately following a crash are critical,” the Illinois Transportation Secretary said. “This law will reduce the chances of further injury and secondary crashes by allowing able vehicles to clear the roadway following a crash.”
Our attorneys learned that the Illinois State Police and nearly 300 law enforcement agencies statewide are strictly enforcing these laws, in addition to current impaired driving and seatbelt laws.
It is important to remember that failing to comply with these laws not only places you at risk while driving, but places surrounding motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians at risk as well. If someone is seriously injured in a car or trucking accident due to a negligent motorist, they may face months of medical bills, property damage, and the need to emotionally recover from the accident
Our law firm provides qualified legal representation to individuals and families who have been in an accident as the result of negligent motorists. Accident lawsuits help victims recover compensation for injuries or costs experienced as a result of an accident. If you or someone you know has suffered injury or death due to a negligent motorist, please contact us for more information.