These days, everyone seems to have a 5th appendage. Two hands, two feet, and a smartphone. And there’s nowhere we aren’t checking them, scrolling, putting them in an out of our pockets. Work, home, bed, bathroom, bar. Out to dinner, at home for dinner. With your friends, in front of your family, or just by yourself. It doesn’t matter. People these days are addicted to their smartphones.
Who knows what all this screen time is doing to us. Is it making us smarter, or melting our brains slowly? The jury is still out. But the verdict’s back on texting while driving. And it’s clear, don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
Over a million car accidents a year are caused by texting and driving. Some estimates put texting while driving at 25% of all crashes. In 2018 alone, 4,637 people died in car crashes due to cell phone use.
To combat this, lawmakers across the country passed laws over the years making texting and driving illegal. 48 out of 50 states have a texting while driving ban. Only Arizona and Montana don’t. Seven other states have extremely limited texting while driving bans. Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia and Oklahoma only ban texting and driving for minors or people with learner’s permits. New Mexico only has local ordinances against it, while Texas only outlaws it in school zones. That leaves Florida, where it’s only applicable if you’re pulled over for another crime, meaning texting and driving alone isn’t enough to pull someone over. On the other hand, 16 states have a ban on handheld/hands-free devices.
TEXTING WHILE DRIVING-ILLINOIS:
In 2010, Illinois banned texting and driving. Until this year, however, that ban was relatively weak in enforcement and punishment. The first offense was a petty offense. Meaning it didn’t go against your driving record and basically was a small fine. A second violation resulted in a moving violation. However, if your texting or use of a cell phone while driving resulted in a crash causing great bodily harm or death, you were looking at a cl. A misdemeanor for great bodily harm and a cl. 4 felony if your texting caused a death.
At Robert Callahan and Associates, we think it’s important to update you on the changes in the law. Especially changes that could affect the daily lives and habits of regular people. Considering most people drive cars and even more, have smartphones, this is a development everyone needs to know about. Contact a criminal defense attorney that is up to date on the most current laws.
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