Illinois Cell Phone Laws: What You Should Know

illinois cell phone laws graphic

Use of electronic communication devices in Illinois while driving comes with certain stipulations and possible penalties if violated. It is imperative that all drivers operating a vehicle in the state of Illinois be aware of current laws governing cell phone use while driving. Whether you are just passing through the ‘Land of Lincoln’ or are a permanent resident, here is what you need to know to abide by Illinois cell phone laws.

What Are the Laws Pertaining to Cell Phone Use While Driving?

Effective January 1, 2014, cellphone use while driving is prohibited, unless using a hands-free device. Any wireless/cell phone use while driving, including a hands-free device, is prohibited for drivers under age 19, except in the case of an emergency to contact a law enforcement agency, health-care provider or emergency services agency. Cell phone use in school and construction zones is prohibited. Always be cautious when making phone calls while operating a vehicle, even hands-free. 16% of fatal crashes involve driver distraction and talking on a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

Penalties and Fines for Using a Cell Phone While Driving

Receiving a traffic ticket is never ideal. Driving while using a cell phone could mean:

  • Maximum fine of $75 for a first offense
  • $100 for a second offense
  • $125 for a third offense
  • $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense

Violation of Illinois cell phone laws is a petty offense, but has the potential to be upgraded to a misdemeanor or felony offense if the collision results in personal injury or death.

Illinois cell phone laws also make it illegal for ALL drivers, regardless of age to use a cell phone while driving in these situations:


  • Through a school zone
  • Through a construction or maintenance zone
  • Within 500 feet of an emergency scene

Is a Cell Phone Ticket a Moving Violation?

The first offense for driving while using a cell phone is not a moving violation. Offenses thereafter ARE considered moving violations and will be recorded on a person’s driving record.

Illinois Distracted Driving

Whether you’re sending out a quick text to a friend or scrolling Instagram for the latest updates in your social circle, cell phone use while driving is a bad driving habit. Research from NHTSA indicates that 476 people were killed in 2015 due to cell phone related crashes. Still think you could survive if you text and drive?

In an effort to curb distracted driving, Top Driver has partnered with Just Hang It Up, a student-led nonprofit dedicated to ending distracted driving.

Be sure to stay current with Illinois law changes and best driving practices with Top Driver by taking an online refresher course. We’ve helped more than 260,000 students become safe, intelligent drivers.

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