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Defending Against Distracted Driving Offenses

Illinois law bans texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving. The law rightly prohibits actions that cause visual, manual, or cognitive impairment to the driver. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and is now one of the nation’s leading causes of auto accidents. However, not all perceived violations of the distracted driving laws are illegal, nor are they all dangerous. If you have been cited for a distracted driving offense, or you were involved in an accident involving distracted driving, you might not actually be guilty of the charge.

Distracted driving laws in Illinois

The state of Illinois enacted two new restrictions on distracted driving in January 2013. These join the state’s already comprehensive ban on texting and these other laws:

  • Ban on cellphone use for bus drivers
  • Ban on cellphone use for new drivers
  • Ban on cellphone use in a school or construction zone

Each of these violations is a primary offense, meaning an officer can pull over and ticket a driver based on the violation alone. With the exception of driving in a school or construction zone, drivers are permitted to speak on a phone that is equipped with a hands-free device.

Device that seems distracting

The laws are designed to protect drivers and passengers from accidents caused by distracted drivers. The law does not, however, consider that some devices that might appear to be distracting a driver are not as problematic.

GPS or map applications

Both IPhone and Android phones come equipped with mapping and navigating applications. While it might appear to a highway patrol officer that the user is texting, the device is in fact assisting the driver in navigating to a destination.

Music players

Just as it is not illegal to change the radio station while driving, it is not illegal to change the song on your mp3 player or smartphone.

To reduce the chances you might drive dangerously, cause an accident or get a ticket for a distracted driving violation, set up your mobile devices for voice activation or connect them through your car’s speaker system. Many new cars now come equipped with audio and GPS controls on the steering wheel.

If you are not able to manage your music selection while continuing safe driving practices, put the phone down. If you have been cited unjustly for distracted driving, speak to a criminal defense attorney in the Cook County area.

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Paul Chatzky
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About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
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About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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