Over the last several years, there has been a growing number of serious car accidents caused by distracted driving due to texting and other handheld cell phone use. In response to this problem, Illinois and many other states have begun to implement laws restricting the use of electronic devices while driving, including for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. If you are accused of texting while driving, you could face serious consequences, including the suspension of your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Penalties for Handheld Cell Phone Use
According to Illinois law, drivers of commercial vehicles are prohibited from texting or using a handheld mobile phone while operating their vehicles, including while the vehicle is in motion and while it is stopped in traffic or at a traffic signal. When a driver who holds a CDL is convicted of violating these laws, the violation becomes part of their driving record. If the offense constitutes a second serious traffic violation within three years, the driver can lose their CDL for up to two months. If the offense constitutes a third violation within three years, suspension of the CDL can extend up to four months. The State of Illinois can also assess fines and driver’s license points for a texting or handheld cell phone use violation, which may impact even the driver’s personal driving privileges.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also has regulations prohibiting handheld cell phone use. A driver who violates the prohibition for the first time can be fined up to $2,750, and the FMCSA will suspend a driver’s privileges for repeat offenses.
Defending Your CDL
If you have been charged with a violation for texting or using a handheld cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle, an experienced attorney can help you determine the best defense strategy for protecting your CDL. For example, you may be able to use your phone records to demonstrate that you were not, in fact, using your phone at the time when you were ticketed for using a violation.
According to Illinois law and federal regulations, other possible defenses to these charges include:
- Demonstrating that you were using your phone to contact emergency services
- Demonstrating that you were using your phone hands-free, or that you only used a single button to start or end a call
- Demonstrating that you had pulled over and stopped in a safe area before using your phone
Contact a Will County CDL Defense Lawyer
Even a single allegation of texting while driving can have serious repercussions for a CDL holder, threatening your driving privileges and your livelihood. If you have been charged with a violation, the Law Office of Patricia Magaña can guide you through the best course of action. Call our office today at 630-448-2001 to schedule a free initial consultation with our Naperville CDL violation defense attorney.