person holding steering wheel while driving

Technology has found its way into many aspects of our lives. Sometimes, it can lead to potential trouble, such as distracting us while we’re driving. The state of Illinois has taken heed of this challenge and has recently enacted a new law that took effect in January 2024 that prohibits people from video conferencing or using social media while driving.

Overview of the New Law

This new law that has been incorporated into the Illinois Vehicle Code prohibits the use of video conferencing or social media applications while driving. The statute is designed to make it very clear that drivers should not be tempted to “attend” virtual meetings while driving, because driving requires full attention to safety.

Reasons for the Law

This law is a response to an escalation of distracted driving cases, likely due to the rising trend of remote work. When drivers are active on video calls, a severe portion of their concentration shifts, which could cause deadly collisions.

You can learn more about the dangers of distracted driving here.

The law was passed to prevent drivers from putting themselves and others in danger to multitask while driving. It underscores Illinois’ dedication to road safety.

If you are caught using video apps while driving in Illinois, you will face fines. 

Public and Expert Opinions

Traffic safety experts back the laws due to the growing concern over the need to eliminate distractions for drivers. Public opinion, however, is quite mixed, with some stating that there should be exceptions for professions that call for constant communication.

Fortunately, there are some exceptions for this new law.

Exceptions to the Law

Although the new Illinois law is very sweeping, there are a number of exemptions:

  • Law enforcement and first responders can use video features if needed in the performance of their duties.
  • Any driver can report an emergency by using communication devices
  • Excluded are commercial drivers and drivers with screens that are already installed. 

Special provisions are also made for drivers in stationary vehicles or operating radios and other specific communication devices.

Prevention and Alternatives

Follow these tips below to make sure you adhere to Illinois’ new law.

Hands-Free Tech

Upgrade to gadgets that enable you to make calls without needing to physically handle your phone. Opt for Bluetooth headsets or in-car systems linked through Bluetooth for an enhanced, safer driving experience.

Voice-Controlled Assistance

Harness the power of voice commands through services like Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa. These tools can help you manage calls and navigation effortlessly, keeping your hands on the wheel and focusing on the road.

Strategic Pre-Drive Planning

Organize your schedule so calls and meetings don’t overlap with your driving. Alternatively, plan brief stops at secure locations for essential video calls or urgent discussions.

Enhanced Safe Driving Applications

Invest in mobile applications specifically designed to boost your driving safety. These apps limit phone functionalities while driving and offer improved GPS features and notification handling, making your journey safer.

Legal Assistance and Resources

Should you find yourself entangled in circumstances influenced by recent legislation, or if you suspect distracted driving played a role in an accident, seeking expert advice might be your best move. Legal professionals, particularly Chicago auto accident lawyers, can offer valuable insight and help protect your rights according to the prevailing laws. 

Setting the precedent, Illinois might give an impetus for other states to follow in its direction. The laws may usher in national standards in technology usage while driving which will hopefully reduce the growing trend of digital distraction.

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