New Laws for Illinois Drivers Begin January 1
MURPHYSBORO -- The start of the new year will bring new laws; several of those pertain to drivers. Authorities want to make sure everyone is aware of the changes and the penalties that come with them.
"When the new laws come out, they're trying to catch up to all the new technology that's been introduced into the environment," says Jackson County Deputy Michael Marks.
Deputy Marks says, like all the laws, this latest round is designed to keep motorists safe. Cell phones will no longer be allowed behind the wheel without a headset or speakersphone. Drivers who break the law and injure others or cause a fatal crash will face a Class A or Class B misdemeanor. The Class A charge includes a $2500 fine and up to a year in jail.
"There's minor infractions that aren't jailable and then there's infractions that are actually jailable and that's where the misdemeanor comes into affect," explains Marks.
Punshiments are tougher for drivers under the age of 19. Marks says they'll be charged with aggravated use of a wireless device, a Class 4 Felony. That means if they cause an accident with injuries while using a cell phone, they're looking at 1 to 3 years in jail.
Drivers will also be prohibited from having any type of video device visible in 2014.
"If you're looking up Youtube or something like that, that's not going to be acceptable. If you're looking at your GPS for directions, that's a little bit different," says Marks.
The fines for unauthorized use of disabled parking permits are also going up next year. The fines rise from $500 to $600. Marks explains the decision on penalties is up to the states attorney and/or a judge.
"Basically, we're trying to protect the drivers on the roadways and that's the most important thing, is to protect the drivers," he says.
Police point out that even though these laws don't technically take effect until next week it's a good idea for drivers to start practicing them now.
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