Illinois Cell Phone Laws

Illinois Cell Phone Laws*Update on Aug. 7, 2019*

Hand-held devices are banned while driving in the state of Illinois, which means no talking, texting, emailing, or adjusting your GPS while driving. Yes, even touching your GPS while driving is considered a violation.

You can use a phone if you are using a speakerphone or headset in most circumstances except: when in school zones, during constructions zones or if you are a novice driver (driver under the age of 19) hands-free technologies are prohibited. Prior to 2014 local municipalities enacted their own laws, which led to confusion regarding what was allowed where, so this statewide ban simplified Illinois cell phone laws into one uniform law.

HB 4846, drivers may not operate a handheld device while the car is in “drive.”

Exceptions to Illinois Cell Phone Laws:

  • When reporting an emergency situation and any continued communication with the emergency personnel for the duration of the emergency.
  • If you are using hands-free or voice-activated technology.
  • The vehicle is parked on the shoulder of the road.
  • If the car is stopped and is either in neutral or park when traffic is obstructed, such as a traffic jam.
  • Police and emergency vehicles are exempt from Illinois cell phone laws when on duty.

Violating Illinois Cell Phone Laws

As in most states Illinois Cell Phone Laws are primary laws, which mean the police can pull you over just for using your cell phone while driving. The penalties for first time offenders just got stiffer too.

House Bill 4846, which took effect July 1, 2019 now counts first-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device as a “moving violation.” Under Illinois state law, moving violations appear on the driving record, and drivers who receive three moving violations in a year will have their license suspended. The fee begins at $75 and increases for each offense thereafter. Four or more violations and your license will be suspended.

“The average text takes your eyes off the phone for about 4.6 seconds,” said Wells. “Which if you’re driving 55mph, that’s the length of a football field. So in just the 5 seconds you’re looking at your phone, you’re going over 300 feet.”

Eric Wells, Traffic Investigator for the Moline Police Department

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