Distracted Driving

It just makes sense that a person can’t text and drive a car at the same time. Distracted driving causes crashes, and people can get hurt or killed. That’s why responsible drivers don’t text and drive (or talk on the phone while driving), and they don’t allow other distractions to pull their attention from the road.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than half of teen drivers reported using a cell phone while driving, and more than 1 in 4 reported typing or sending a text message while driving in the previous 30 days. When it’s time for you to get behind the wheel of a car, don’t let yourself be a distracted driver. And don’t ride with distracted drivers, either – safe driving comes first.

State Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving could leave you responsible for a crash in which other people could be hurt or even killed. At the least, you could end up with a traffic ticket. In Illinois, drivers under age 19 with an instruction permit or initial driver’s license are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices.  Possible consequences of a ticket include:

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance rate increases

The law does not single out teen drivers, either. Illinois has similar restrictions for adults, who may not text and drive or use a handheld cell phone while driving, or use any kind of cell phone, handheld or hands-free in a school zone or work zone.

Electronic devices aren’t the only distractions a driver faces. Passengers can be distracting, too. This is one reason Illinois’ graduated driver licensing system allows no more than one non-family teen passenger under age 20 during the first year of driving.

Key Tips for Safe Driving

  • Distracted driving does not just involve cell phones and other wireless devices. Eating, drinking, chatting with a passenger, reading a map, personal grooming, reaching for objects or looking at people or objects unrelated to the driving task are all things that could lead to a crash.
  • As you get ready to learn to drive, ask your parents, driving instructor or other supervising driver how they minimize dangerous driving distractions and stay focused on driving.
  • Even as a passenger, you can help others avoid distractions. If you’re ever riding with friends who are texting, on a cell phone, speeding or otherwise behaving recklessly, speak up. Tell your friends to focus on safe driving, ask to help them manage the phone or, if they do not change their risky behavior, ask to be dropped off.