The use of cell phones while driving has become too casual and a terrible habit. Nobody seems to realize the severity and danger of their actions until the worst possible outcome happens—injury or death, and by that time, it’s too late to have learned your lesson. In 2007, Washington was the first state to pass a law forbidding texting and driving, and most states followed their lead, yet still, we see far too many accidents caused by teenagers and adults that are on their phones.
More recently it has become clear that you don’t need to send a message or talk on the phone to be distracted on the road. Many people use their phones to check emails, listen to music, or for navigation, which has, in turn, led to drivers taking advantage of the specifics of the law, saying, “Oh, well I wasn’t texting, I was only changing the song.” The reality is that anything you do on your phone that requires you takes your eyes off the road is considered a distraction.
Driving is a luxury and privilege that demands 100% of our undivided attention, and if we can’t give that to ourselves and others, then we don’t deserve to be on the road. Driving, alone, is a risk in and of itself, but getting distracted by electronic devices increases your risk by double. Law enforcement is beginning to put an end to this behavior, and hopefully, people come to respect the law instead of finding loopholes around it.
On July 1, 2019, Illinois passed a state law that bans all cell phone use while driving. Even if you are not using your phone to text or call, but are merely holding it, you will receive a moving violation. The first offense will go on the driver’s permanent record and will result in a $75 fine and increase by $15 until the third offense—after that, the driver’s license will be suspended. Police will not only be enforcing this, but traffic cameras will be snapping photos of people at red lights if they have a phone in their hand. So, if you are driving in Illinois, make sure you keep your car a hands free zone.
While people may find cell phone laws unnecessary or annoying, it is actually a step in the right direction to hopefully eliminate and avoid as many car crashes as possible in the future. Cell phone use while driving accounts for hundreds of thousands of accidents in the U.S. a year, especially among teenagers who have minimal experience on the road and need to devote as much attention as possible to practice safe driving habits.
To avoid accidents, and run-ins with the law, we have a couple of recommendations in regards to staying off the phone while driving, whether you live in Illinois or not. Even if your state does not have a set in stone law about cell phone use while driving, we advise you to practice these habits anyway to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
Invest in a Car Mount
If you don’t already have one, car mounts are very helpful and safe for drivers on the road. If you are a person who is used to looking down at your phone in your lap, a car mount will help you keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and will allow you to see the navigation without ever having to look down. They also sell for pretty cheap on Amazon at only $16.99.
Set up Hands-Free Mode or CarPlay
Cell phones have become an essential part of everyday life that many people can not escape. People today need to be on their phones for a lot of reasons whether it’s for work or keeping in touch with kids. We do not doubt the fact that cell phones are completely necessary to function—just not at the expense of your life. If you are a person that needs to be on your phone for a business call while on the road, consider setting up Bluetooth, so you don’t have to hold the phone, and can keep both hands on the steering wheel. If your car doesn’t have a Bluetooth system, Amazon sells a variety of earpieces that you can manually connect to your phone.
Do Not Disturb While Driving
If you have an iPhone, you can set up Do Not Disturb while driving. The phone recognizes when you are in a car and silences all notifications for the time being. An automatic response will tell the person trying to reach you that you are busy driving, and will get back to them shortly. You can set this up to be automated or do it manually every time you get in the car. If you do not have a smartphone, maybe consider turning your phone off to get rid of any temptation to use it while you are on the road.