STRONG ENFORCEMENT PLANNED TO KEEP DRIVERS SAFE
Because it's a common—even daily—activity for most people, sending a text doesn't seem dangerous. However, when you're doing it behind the wheel, there are a litany of other factors at play. As DMV.org states, driving is a privilege because of the inherent risk and responsibility we all need to assume out on the road. When people choose to text and drive, they are threatening every single driver around them—and placing more value on that text message than thenselves and your fellow drivers.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at any given moment over 600,000 people are on their phones while driving. It can be hard to grasp the dangers of texting and driving, but once you know the facts, this hazardous habit starts to become a reality.
In the United States:
• 26% of all car crashes in 2014 involved cell phone use.
• At least 9 people are killed every day because of a distracted driver.
• More than 1,000 people are injured every day due to a distracted driver.
• In 2015 42% of teens say they have texted while driving—and texting and driving is the leading cause of death in teens.
According to a recent report, at 55 miles per hour, looking away from the road for just five seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. But a new law will enforce the prevention of the dangerous driving statistics that come with texting behind the wheel, placing first-time violators two violations away from getting their license suspended.
As of July 1, 2019 texting while driving in Illinois will count as a moving violation with three in a year qualifying drivers to lose their license to suspension, says Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson.
But how will it be enforced, you may ask? Illinois State Police say it's simple to enforce "because if you have your phone in your hand that's a violation. Trooper Wilson says there is some "confusion lately where people think you can operate GPS and that's ok," but he says there is no such exemption to the hands free law. Trooper Wilsons says you're allowed to "look at your phone while its in GPS mode but you can't operate it. you're only allowed to visually look at your phone."
If you're following directions and look at your phone, you need to pull over. If you are dialing someone before planning on speaking to them hands free, you need to pull over. Texting while stopping at a red light or in stand still rush hour traffic is still a violation.
"A natural stop like a railroad crossing with a train going by which allow you to put your vehicle in park. you can't put your vehicle in park at a red light," says Trooper Wilson.
"You're only allowed to hit one button by the letter of the law, you're only allowed to push one button to activate it or answer or call. but if you need to scroll through your contacts, pull over," says Trooper Wilson.
Illinois state police say they can prove a violation by requesting a search warrant.
Source: DMV.org and Interview with East Moline Office Trooper Wilson ( KWQC)