Stricter Distracted Driving Laws: Will They Make Chicago’s Streets Safer?

Both hands on the wheel

Back in 2014, changes made to legislation in Illinois made it illegal to drive while using any type of hand-held cell phone. Whether for texting or making phone calls, cell phones have since been banned in the hands of drivers unless they’re in parked vehicles.

Disappointing results

Yet the results of these legislation changes have unfortunately not been as overwhelmingly positive as was hoped back in 2014. Since the changes, the number of traffic fatalities in Chicago has surprisingly increased. In 2015, there were 50 more fatalities resulting from car accidents than in the previous year.

Lawmakers expected the 2014 changes to clearly bring about safer roads. Statistics cited by state police authorities in making the changes include the fact that a driver is 400 times more likely to get in a car wreck when using a phones.

Responding to the results with even stricter legislation

In response to the disappointing results, some lawmakers have proposed even more severe penalties for distracted driving.

Robert Martwick- a state representative in Illinois- has proposed the possibility that a distracted driving violation could become a class 2 felony. At the time the 2014 changes were instated, distracted driving could only be as severe as a class 4 felony. Martwick has suggested that distracted driving penalties should be comparable with DUI penalties for the best results when it comes to accident fatalities.

Will new legislation fix the problem?

New legislation will make it so that driver’s need to update their awareness of distracted driving legislation in Illinois. It also might lead to more drivers working with car wreck lawyers to fight the stiffer penalties that would come along with new distracted driving laws. However, will the new legislation decrease the danger out on the roads?

The fact that more severe accidents are occurring despite stricter distracted driving penalties is alarming for state lawmakers, car wreck lawyers, and motorists alike. However, it seems important to consider that new legislation may be just as ineffective at reducing accident fatalities as the old legislation changes of 2014 were.

Yet the idea that distracted driving should be taken as seriously as driving under the influence is definitely worth evaluating. The National Highway & Transportation Administration has brought attention to the fact that impairment caused by cell phone use while driving is very similar to impairment caused by driving while driving.

Statistics seem to show that texting while driving could be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Statistics from some studies impacting car wreck lawyers focused on DUI cases have indicated that texting while driving is just like driving after consuming four alcoholic beverages.