Posted On: April 1, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Illinois House Passes Measure to Ban Text Messaging While Driving

In an 89-27 vote, the Illinois House passed a measure that would make it illegal for people to send and receive text messages when operating a motor vehicle. The bill, HB71, now goes to the Illinois Senate.

If the bill becomes law, it would go into effect beginning July 1, 2009. Illinois police officers would then be allowed to stop a texting motorist and issue a ticket to him or her. Text messaging would be treated as a traffic violation. This means that a ticket for text messaging would count toward the three violations that could result in driver's license revocation and even time in jail.

Critics of the bill have expressed concern that time in jail is too harsh a penalty for text messaging while driving—especially if there was no accident and no one was hurt. They also wonder how a police officer will know the whether someone is pressing buttons on a cell phone to make a call or to compose a text message. Supporters of the measure, however, are quick to point out that 120 people die every week in motor vehicle accidents because they were driving and texting or talking on their cell phones at the same time.

Currently, Illinois lets localities determine the laws regarding cell phone usage. Throughout the state, however, drivers younger than 19 and school bus drivers are barred from any kind of cell phone use when operating their vehicles.

Text Messaging While Driving
Text messaging on a phone or a PDA device while operating a motor vehicle is now on the list of distracted driving activities that can lead to deadly traffic accidents. Talking on a cell phone, applying make up, reading, bending down to pick up a fallen object, and reading are other examples of distracted driving.

The National Roads and Motorists Association says drivers who text message spend 400% more time looking at their phone instead of watching the road. Studies also indicate that drivers who text message while operating their motor vehicles are six times more likely to get involved in a motor vehicle crash. It doesn’t help that texting may sometimes require the motorist to take both hands off the wheel.

No texting while driving in bill passed by Ill. House,, April 1, 2009

Ill. House votes to ban texting while driving, Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2009

Dangers of texting and driving, Fox 16, November 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association

Illinois Driving and Cell-Phone Legislation,

If you or someone you love was injured in an Illinois motor vehicle collision because another motorist was texting, talking on the cell phone, or engaged in another kind of distracted or (negligent) driving, please contact our Chicago car accident law firm today.

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