Cell phones and similar devices are a common cause of driver distraction, which often causes truck accidents. The state of Illinois has recently passed laws regulating the use of these devices while driving. The federal government also has rules to prevent the distracted driving of commercial motor vehicles.
State laws prohibit cell use while driving
Driver distraction is a contributing factor in about one-fourth of all traffic crashes reported to the police, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Illinois State Police report that Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 71 and HB 72 into law on Aug 6, 2009, which took effect on Jan 1, 2010. The laws generally prohibit the use of a cell phone while driving in a school zone or highway construction zone.
It is also illegal in Illinois to read or write text messages, use email or surf the Internet while driving. These laws cover similar devices such as portable computers and personal digital assistants. They do not prohibit navigation systems, including global positioning systems.
Illinois has also implemented various consumer awareness campaigns on distracted driving such as the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. This program uses suggestions from high school students to develop public service messages on safe driving.
In our next post we will discuss federal laws regarding truck driver cellphone use.