A Look at Illinois Law Regarding Cell Phone Use and Driving

Last updated 2 months ago

The use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle is a dangerous practice which is slowly being outlawed in order to reduce the likelihood of personal injury. In Illinois, cell phone laws are subject to primary enforcement, which means that a police officer has the right to pull a driver over for breaking any of the following rules:

Complete Bans

Recent legislation has increased the scope of drivers who may not use wireless phones in any capacity while driving. The ban now covers all drivers within 500 ft. of an incident scene where emergency vehicles have lights flashing, within construction and maintenance zones (even if speed is not reduced in the area), and within school zones. Groups prohibited from cell phone use include motorists ages 18 and under as well as school bus drivers.

Prohibitions on Visual Activities

Throughout Illinois, it is illegal for a driver to use a cell phone for texting, emailing, internet searches, taking pictures or video, and any other activity that involves looking at the phone for an extended period of time. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

Hands-Free Requirements

Motorists in Chicago, as well as commercial drivers throughout the state, must use a hands-free interface to speak on the phone. Fines for talking on a handheld cell phone when prohibited are as high as $500. A Bluetooth headset or wired earpiece allows you to keep both hands on the wheel while talking on the phone.  


While it is illegal to use a cell phone near the scene of an accident or police traffic stop, reporting an emergency or speaking to law enforcement is allowed. In addition, text messages can be sent by drivers using a voice-activated mode or who are parked on the shoulder.  

If you have been the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact Malman Law by calling (312) 983-6193. We offer complementary case consultations in accordance with our Zero Fee Guarantee. In other words, you are not charged unless you obtain the compensation you deserve.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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