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More Than 100,000 Illinois Drivers Convicted For Illegal Cell Phone Use

https://www.flickr.com/photos/got_legos/ (CC BY 2.0)

More than 100,000 Illinois drivers were convicted for illegally using their cell phones. That’s since the law went into effect in 2014.

Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/got_legos/ (CC BY 2.0)

The law says drivers can use their cell phones only with the help of a hands-free device. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office says fewer than one percent of those convictions were from repeat offenders.

Dave Druker is spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office. He says he equates the law with Illinois residents warming up to the state’s seat belt program.

Druker says that program started about thirty years ago with about a quarter of the population using seat belts.

“The fact is now, it’s close to 80 percent participation, people wearing seat belts,” Druker said. “You know, maybe it’ll come around over a period of time to this with the cell phone ban at similar statistics.”

Druker says the annual number of offenses keeps declining for not following the hands-free cell phone law. He says he’s hopeful that means people are starting to get the message about not driving while on their phones.

Illinois communities brought in more than $7 million overall from fines for illegal cell phone usage while driving. The dollar amount comes from driver data provided by the Secretary of State’s office and fine amounts as outlined in the law.

“You know, I think it’s a simple concept; if you’re driving, you shouldn’t be on a cell phone,” Druker said.

By The Numbers: Overall Convictions Per Year

  • 2014: 38,335
  • 2015: 35,472
  • 2016: 26,990

By The Numbers: Repeat-Offender Convictions From 2014-2016

  • Two-Time Convictions: 574
  • Three-Time Convictions: 48
  • Four-Time Convictions: 2

Copyright 2021 WNIJ Northern Public Radio. To see more, visit WNIJ Northern Public Radio.

Katie Finlon
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