- Published: 18 April 2017
In the time it takes to look at a text message, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour will cover the length of a football field. Because a lot can happen in that time, State Senator John G. Mulroe sponsored legislation in 2013 to curb distracted driving by prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving, including texting, operating navigation systems and eating.
The law went into effect in 2014, making driving while using a phone a ticket-able offense. Drivers are still able to use hands-free features on their phones and one-touch dialing.
“I want to remind everyone that April is distracted driver awareness month,” Mulroe said. “This is a great opportunity for parents and guardians to discuss the dangers of distracted driving with teens, who are at a higher risk of being involved in a fatal accident that involves distracted driving. Though it may seem like just a moment, a lot can happen when cars are traveling at high speeds.”
Since Mulroe’s bill went into effect, a study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that drivers in states with laws against using hand-held devices like Illinois spent less time on their phones than in states that did not have rules against cell phone use while driving. However, the study also found that one in four drivers was using a phone within a minute before getting into an accident.
Distracted driving remains a serious concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 400,000 people were injured and 3,477 individuals were killed in car crashes that involved distracted drivers in 2015 alone.