Well, you’ve been warned.
We can’t say that we’re going to feel very sorry for anyone who gets pulled over and is written a ticket for using a cellphone — actually, physically holding the phone — while driving.
For the past couple of years, it’s been illegal to use a handheld cellphone in school zones. The law also already prohibited texting while driving.
But Jan. 1, 2014 saw the beginning of the hands-free phone era for all Illinois motorists, though casual observation during the first few days of the year would lead you to believe that many either don’t know about the law or simply don’t care.
However, anyone who has waited to make a left turn behind someone gabbing on a cellphone or has tailed behind a slow driver oblivious to anything but the engrossing phone conversation he’s having knows what the problem is.
According to the Illinois Tollway Authority, about 1.2 million crashes per year — about a quarter of the total — in the nation each year are attributable to cellphone use while driving.
It’s time for motorists to put the phone down. Technology has advanced far enough that many new vehicles incorporate Bluetooth technology allowing easy hands-free use of phones. Those without such technology in their vehicles, can easily obtain the means to go hands-free.
But if you simply insist on holding your cellphone to your ear or in front of your face while driving, don’t expect a lot of sympathy when you get that $75 ticket.