Illinois lawmakers are working on creating a harsher penalty for people who cause a serious injury to another person while texting and driving. Under the proposal, a driver who causes great bodily harm to another while distracted by using a phone or other electronic device would face a $1,000 fine and a year without a license. Currently, the penalty is $75, along with other punishments for dangerous driving.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, came after a constituent in her district that lost his leg in a crash where the other driver was texting while behind the wheel. State Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, said the stiffer penalties would discourage the dangerous behavior. State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, D-Chicago, said the bill would disproportionately affect low-income people. Likewise, state Rep. Marcus Evans, a Chicago Democrat who grew up in a low-income family, said many families wouldn’t be able to absorb the cost of $1,000 or be able to pay it without having a license to get to work.
Others agreed that the cost was too high, but still endorsed the idea, saying $75 was too low to be a real deterrent for what has become a widespread habit. The bill now needs a vote on the House floor before it can be reported to the Senate. Learn more…
If you feel strongly about this proposed legislation, contact your state representative. MD/RB