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New law cracks down on texting while driving

First-time offenses are now moving violations

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s legislative strengthening of the law on texting while driving took effect July 1.

The law cracks down on texting while driving by classifying first-time offenses as moving violations. Under the previous law, second and subsequent texting while driving offenses are treated as moving violations, while first offenses are treated as non-moving violations.

“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and throughout the nation,” White said. “This important law will make our roads safer. No driver should be texting while driving.”

The penalty for a violation of this law results in a moving violation that will be recorded to the motorist’s driving record, as well as fines and court costs that will be determined by a judge. A driver who is convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period is subject to a driver’s license suspension.

Texting while driving is considered among the most deadly forms of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorist traveling at 55 mph stops watching the road for an average for five seconds when sending or reading a text. This equates to driving blindly for the length of a football field.

Public Act 100-0858 was sponsored by state Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) and state Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) and was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

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