In Illinois and many other states, it is illegal to use your cell phone and drive. The reasoning behind the law is that texting or talking on the phone while driving is incredibly dangerous. In 2019, for instance, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Therefore, police prioritize cell phone violations much like they would other serious traffic offenses like DUI.
However, cell phones are one of those modern-day conveniences that are difficult to live without. In addition to using it for communication, a cell phone also gives you directions, and it might serve as a radio for news and music in the car. With phones being more or less a necessity, it is important to understand the limits of Illinois distracted driving laws.
Electronic Communication Devices in the Illinois Traffic Code
In one sense, Illinois law is very clear about using a cell phone and driving. The law prohibits operating a vehicle “on a roadway while using an electronic communication device,” but the law also offers a number of exceptions. While most of them only apply to first responders and walkie-talkies, there are a handful of exceptions for everybody else.
According to the law, you are allowed to use your cell phone in the car if your vehicle is parked or in neutral while on the shoulder or on the roadway if traffic is obstructed; if you are talking to a dispatcher to report and communicate an emergency situation; and if you are using a hands-free device like a phone mount or headset....