Tougher penalties a part of new law against texting and driving

Secretary of State Jesse White announced two new laws which took effect July 1st that toughen penalties for drivers who injure others while texting and driving and for those who hit pedestrians.

“These laws enhance the penalties for drivers who seriously injure others because of texting and driving,” said White. “Drivers who are negligent by texting and driving or disregarding pedestrians are putting others in grave danger. I urge drivers never to text while driving and to always be mindful of yielding to pedestrians.”

The first law, Public Act 101-0090, amends the Illinois Vehicle Code (IVC) by establishing a 12-month license suspension and minimum fine of $1,000 for a motorist who, while texting and driving, causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.

The second law, Public Act 101-0470 also referred to as Mason’s Law amends the IVC by establishing a 12-month license suspension for a motorist who, while violating the right-of-way at crosswalks and in school zones, causes serious injury to another person.

“Distracted driving and the safety of pedestrians remain among our biggest challenges to get the number of traffic deaths where it should be: Zero,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “I thank Gov. Pritzker for signing the bills. These laws will make drivers think twice about the life-and-death decisions they make behind the wheel.”