Is it okay to use a cellphone while you’re stopped at a stop sign? Can you check social media if it only takes one hand working the screen? Is it a bad idea to talk on the phone as long as one hand is still on the wheel? Illinois has a simple answer to all these questions: no, no and no.
The Prairie State became a “hands-free” state earlier this year, as the legislature in Springfield passed a law making it illegal to operate a cellular telephone without hands-free technology such as a Bluetooth-enabled headset. The only exception may be an emergency call to police or another public service.
Minnesota recently followed by becoming the 19th state to pass a similar law, while Wisconsin continues to consider the option. These laws are intended to keep people on the road safe by stopping the dangerous behavior of drivers, as well as provide accountability when drivers can’t stop.
Another implication of “hands-free” laws includes liability. For example, if a driver was using a cellphone at the time of a collision, the distraction may be considered evidence that the driver was responsible for the crash and any resulting injuries or damage.
If someone was injured in an incident involving a distracted driver, he or she may have a case for financial damages to help with recovery as well as compensation for wages lost while unable to work. An attorney can help examine the details of a specific incident and advise on the best way to move past it with grace and confidence.