Illinois Legislature Considers Ban of Cellphones While Driving

On behalf of Law Office of Steven Haney posted in Illinois Traffic Laws on Thursday, February 16, 2012

If Illinois lawmakers have their way, drivers will soon have to put away their cellphones when driving. Having banned texting while driving two years ago, the Illinois legislature has proposed legislation that would, in most cases, ban the use of cellphones while driving.

Reason for Cellphone Ban

This legislation is being proposed primarily for safety reasons. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, distractions attributed to cellphone use caused more than 500 motor vehicle accidents in Illinois during the first half of 2010.

If the legislation passes, Illinois will not be the first state to ban using cellphones while driving; it will join the ranks of nine other states having some form of ban for cellphones in motor vehicles.

About the Legislation

The new legislation bans using cellphones and other electronic communication devices for most of the time while driving, but there are some exceptions. Illinois drivers can still use hands-free devices, such as a Bluetooth wireless headset. Drivers are also permitted to use cellphones in voice-activated mode.

In addition to the exceptions for hands-free and voice-activated cellphones, the new legislation would retain many of the exceptions that are contained in the current ban on texting while driving. The proposed ban on cellphones would not apply to:

  • Law enforcement officers while on duty
  • Drivers using cellphones to report an emergency to police or emergency personnel
  • Drivers making calls while parked on the shoulder of a road
  • Drivers making calls when the vehicle is stopped due to a traffic obstruction, as long as the vehicle’s transmission is in neutral or park
  • Commercial vehicle drivers using permanently-installed electronic communication devices

Violators of the new law can be charged with a petty offense, carrying a fine of up to $1,000 per violation. In addition to the fine, a violation of the law is a moving violation. All motorists over the age of 21 can have their driver’s license suspended if charged with three or more (two or more if under 21) moving violations in a two-year period.

Source: “Illinois considering cellphone ban for most drivers,”, 1/21/12