Texting while driving in Illinois to become moving violation as of July 1, 2019

Published: Apr. 25, 2019 at 6:31 PM CDT
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At any given moment over 600,000 people are on their phones while driving according to the

And at 55 miles per hour, looking away from the road for just five seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. But starting this summer getting caught texting while driving in Illinois just once could have you two strikes away from getting your license suspended.

As of July 1, 2019 texting while driving in Illinois will count as a moving violation. And if you get three moving violations in a year your license will be suspended says Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson.

And Illinois State Police say it's fairly easy to enforce "because if you have your phone in your hand that's a violation. Trooper Wilson says there is some "confusion lately where people think you can operate GPS and that's ok," but he says there is no such exemption to the hands free law. Trooper Wilsons ays you're allowed to "look at your phone while its in GPS mode but you can't operate it. you're only allowed to visually look at your phone." So if you're trying to look ahead at the direction or change your location, you have to pull over to safe spot. The same goes for dialing a number. You have to pull over.

"You're only allowed to hit one button by the letter of the law, you're only allowed to push one button to activate it or answer or call. but if you need to scroll through your contacts, pull over," says Trooper Wilson.

And texting while stopping at a red light or in stand still rush hour traffic is still a violation.

The only exception?

"A natural stop like a railroad crossing with a train going by which allow you to put your vehicle in park. you can't put your vehicle in park at a red light," says Trooper Wilson.

Illinois state police say they can prove a violation by requesting a search warrant. n Iowa, the violation does not count as a moving violation.