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New Law Requires Hands-Free Cell Phone Use While Driving

Casey Woodruff

Come the new year, many residents of Illinois will usher in the New Year with resolutions designed to make their lives better. This year, the state of Illinois is doing something similar. In an effort to improve the safety of the state’s roads, it will ban the use of hand-held phones while driving.

When the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014, Illinois will be the twelfth state to adopt this type of legislation. Individuals caught violating the law could be fined between $75 and $150. In addition, their driver’s license could be suspended as well. The law will not be a big change for many communities in the Chicago area. This is because some towns already ban the use of cellphones in various capacities.

The family of a man who was killed in a car accident in August 2012 likely wishes the law had been in place then. The 26-year-old man died after the vehicle he was driving was struck by another vehicle that was travelling around 85 mph. In addition to speeding the man was also intoxicated and allegedly using his phone.

The driver was sentenced to nine years in prison. He also faced a civil lawsuit when the mother of the young man who died filled a wrongful death case against him. Other defendants named in that lawsuit are the country club where he was golfing and drinking prior to the crash, as well as the man’s employer. The outcome of that lawsuit remains to be seen.

Because there were other reasons cited for the crash besides the use of a phone, it is possible that the crash might still have occurred. Nonetheless, if the change in law saves the life of anyone, most would likely think that it is worth it.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Fatal crash points to dangers of cellphone use while driving,” Ted Gregory, Dec. 10, 2013

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