Illinois drivers who cause an accident resulting in an injury of another person because they were using a cell phone or electronic device behind the wheel will be subject to a penalty as high as $1,000 beginning in July 2020, reports KHQA.
Distracted drivers who cause an accident resulting in bodily harm now pay a $75 fine.
The far stiffer penalty is due to Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) who filed the new bill after an accident in her district caused a motorcycle rider to lose his leg. The driver who caused the accident was on the phone and was written a $75 ticket for using a handheld device behind the wheel, reports Illinois Policy.
The new changes for injuring someone come on the heels of another Illinois law changed to impose steeper penalties for any texting while driving. The changes for a first-time texting offense took effect July 1.
First-time incidences of driving while operating a handheld mobile device now count as a moving violation. Under state law, moving violations appear on motorists' driving records, and motorists who get three moving violations in a year see their driver’s license suspended, reports Illinois Policy. First-time offenses still carry a fine of $75.
Over 600,000 drivers nationwide are using their cellphone at any given moment, according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA also found that 25% of police-reported collisions involve drivers using their cellphones.