Illinois lawmakers sent a pair of bills to the governor’s office last week that would ban text messaging while driving and forbid drivers from using cell phones in school and construction zones.
Distracted drivers are a significant cause of Chicago car accidents handled by the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes and the laws could impact future cases brought by car accident victims. A landmark study issued in 2006 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 78% of crashes involved a driver distracted within three seconds before an accident.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn told Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog on Wednesday that lawmakers have 30 days to forward the bills to the governor’s office for signature. Gov. Quinn has not indicated whether he will sign them into law but the proposals received heavy support in both chambers and were lobbied for by Secretary of State Jesse White.
“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem in our state and in the nation,” said White, who chairs the state’s Distracted Driving Task Force. “This legislation is important and will make our roads safer. No driver has any business text messaging while they are driving. Additionally, school zones and construction zones require drivers to slow down and pay special attention to their surroundings and, as a result, they should not be using a cell phone.”
The proposed law would fine texting drivers $75 to $500 and forbid the use of cell phones in construction zones and school zones. It would still permit the use of hands-free devices, although safety advocates contend they are no better at reducing car accidents.
“The best available evidence suggests that it is no less hazardous for a driver to use a hands-free phone than to use a hand-held phone,” according to a recent AAA report.
Some lawmakers expressed concern the two pieces of legislation (House Bills 71 and 72) go too far.
“Things can go on and on, but what you really need is people to be responsible,” State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphyboro, told the Quad-City Times.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, the Chicago personal injury and wrongful death lawyers and Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your rights. They can be reached toll free at (866)-99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.