Distracted Driving

CSG Midwest

Under a new law that took effect in August (HF 50), drivers in Minnesota can only use voice commands or single-touch activation on their phones to make calls and texts. Violators of the state’s “hands-free” statute will be ticketed $50, plus court fees; the penalty is $275 for repeat violations. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 18 other states, including Illinois in the Midwest, have hands-free bans in place. In each of these states, the use of a hand-held cell phone is a primary offense, meaning a police officer can cite a driver for it without any other traffic offense taking place.

CSG Midwest
In 2016, drivers distracted by their phones or other devices caused 1,230 crashes on Iowa roads, nearly double the number from a decade ago, state statistics show. This year, the state’s lawmakers passed two bills to crack down on these motorists.
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As of mid-April, 12 U.S. states had general statutory bans on drivers’ use of handheld cellphones, including Illinois in the Midwest, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In each of these 12 states, this traffic violation is a primary offense: Law enforcement can stop a driver because of the cellphone use and issue a citation.
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The U.S. Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as “Any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.”

Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced new guidelines that prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles. This prohibition is effective immediately, and truck and bus drivers may be subject to civil and criminal penalties of up to $2750.  This new ban is part of a series of actions by the Department to combat distracted driving.   

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood in a press release.  “This is an important safety...

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