Abels & Annes

Cell phone laws aim to reduce risk of Chicago car accidents – what are the laws in other States?

Adding a list of cell phone laws in states you plan to travel through has become a summer road trip essential as motorists navigate the patchwork of state laws aimed at cracking down on distracted driving accidents, MSNBC reported.

As we reported on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, Illinois began the new year with a law preventing drivers from using hand-held cell phones to text message or navigate the Internet while behind the wheel. The law also prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones in school zones and construction sites.
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The City of Chicago has outlawed all hand-held cell phone use since 2005, in an effort to reduce the number of Chicago car accidents caused by distracted driving.

But those are just two of dozens of laws states and local governments have enacted in recent years as authorities have seized on the use of cell phones, and particularly text messaging, as a primary cause of distracted driving crashes. Nationwide, more than 6,000 people a year are killed and 500,000 are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And, while signs won’t be posted notifying motorists of the laws, that does not lessen their obligation to obey them.

“Drivers are still responsible for knowing the cell phone laws that apply in each state, ” said AAA spokesperson Nancy White. While the organization urges motorists to leave cell phones alone while behind the wheel, its website offers information on various state laws.

Our Chicago injury lawyers encourage motorists to pull over when using a cell phone. Better yet, unplug during your vacation and toss the phone in the trunk. It will be there if you need it. In the meantime, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet with a view.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, eight state ban the use of hand-held cell phones: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington.

-Twenty-eight states ban the use of cell phones by young drivers.

-Thirty states ban text messaging while driving.

In some states, including Maine and Utah, the laws are part of a larger distracted driving initiative and enforcement can only occur if a driver is pulled over for committing another moving violation, such as speeding. In other states, like Maryland, the law allows for primary enforcement, meaning a driver can be stopped and ticketed if caught violating the cell phone law.

Like Chicago, many municipalities have enacted their own regulations governing cell phone use. Although several states, including Florida, have enacted legislation forbidding a patchwork of measure from being enacted by local governments within a state.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Chicago accident attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.