In case you hadn’t heard, the state of Illinois has increased penalties for electronic communication device usage (including cell phones, tablets, and laptops) while driving.

Illinois House Bill 4846 dictates that drivers may not use electronic communication devices while operating a vehicle that is in “drive.” This includes, but is not limited to touching your phone to text, call, email, or use the GPS when a vehicle is not in neutral or park, even if you are at a stop sign, red light, or stuck in traffic. 

Under this law, even touching your phone while driving may constitute a moving violation, and three moving violations in a year may result in a suspended license.

The narrow exceptions to this law include contacting emergency personnel, usage while a car is parked on the side of a road, and usage when a car is in “neutral” or “park” and stopped by obstructed traffic (for example, by a train).

Drivers may use cell phones in hands-free mode, which may include use with a headset or Bluetooth technology. However, even hands-free cell phone usage is prohibited in school zones, construction zones, and within 500 feet of emergency scenes.

It is permissible to use GPS functionality as long as you do not touch the device while driving.

 Contact your local Illinois State Police district for enforcement inquiries