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Ryan R. Bradley
Ryan R. Bradley
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Is Hands Free a Safe Alternative for Illinois Drivers


Champaign Distracted Driving Lawyer Ryan BradleyIn Central Illinois and across the state, more and more drivers are embracing hands free cell phone options such as Bluetooth or headsets.  Part of this move is the fact that most Illinois residents are becoming more attune to the dangers of distracted driving and part of the reason is due to stiff fines in the state for testing and driving.  In any event, hand free technologies are certainly and start but not the end of the distracted driving epidemic.

The Illinois Tollway estimates that 24 percent of all traffic crashes are linked to drivers who are distracted by their cell phones. That is almost 1.2 million accidents per year.  This distraction does not only pertain to the use of texting or email features.  It also relates to the dialing of the phone while on Bluetooth or fumbling with a headset that is wired.

Distraction.gov reports that approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. This number has remained about the same since 2010. The website also claims that engaging in reaching for a phone and dialing increase the risk of an accident by three times.  The statistics are staggering–and do not change in Champaign, Decatur, Bloomington or Decatur.

At the beginning of 2014, the state of Illinois passed a law that prohibits drivers to talk while holding a cell phone while driving a car. Many new car models have speaker abilities that allow drivers to talk hands-free while driving. Those who have cars without this feature must buy a hands-free device if they plan to talk on the phone while driving their car. In the case that a driver does not have these and needs to make a call, they must pull over and find a safe place to park in order to make their call.

If Illinois State Police pull over a driver for having a phone to their ear, the first offense can be up to $75. The fine increases by $25 each time after the first offense. If a driver gets pulled over three times in one year for this same offense, there is a great chance that they will have their license taken away.

The intent behind the Illinois legislation is not hard to ascertain.  Law makers in Springfield want to make a statement that Illinois distracted driving will not be tolerated–as annoying as the tickets may be. Still, even if the vast majority of residents in Central Illinois were to obey the law, a very large margin for error exists will all the other distractions we experience behind the wheel.  Follow these tips to keep your driving a little bit safer–and hope your fellow Illinois drivers doing the same.

  •  Allow for your Bluetooth to activate before driving and dial your first number while parked;
  • Do not dial your phone while driving;
  • Using the phone on speaker mode is NOT safe and in some cases still illegal;
  • Placing the phone out of easy reach can help resist the temptation to see the latest cat video on Facebook or to text;
  • Don’t be afraid to as a passenger to call or text for you, it makes you feel very cool as well; and finally
  • Keep a lookout for other distracted drivers (they are once weaving through two lanes.)

As Always, Koester & Bradley is here to help if you have been a victim of a distracted driver, or simply want more information.

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