With the turning of the calendar page to the new year 2014, a new hands-free device driving law is in effect across the State of Illinois. Similar to the ordinance enacted in the City of Chicago several years ago, the Illinois statute makes it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving. Unlike the City of Chicago’s enforcement of its ordinance, State police say they will enforce the statute immediately. In other words, no grace period will exist for all drivers in Illinois.

In order to comply with the new statute, a motorist must either use a hands-free device or have it on speaker. Bluetooth headsets, earpieces and voice-activated commands are permitted. Without hands-free technology, a motorist must pull over and stop the vehicle in order to talk on the cell phone.A violation of the Illinois law is a moving offense. The first offense is a $75 fine, and subsequent offenses after that is an additional $25. After three convictions in one year, a violator could lose his license.

Am employer should take precautions in its business and with its employees in order to comply with the new law. Among other things, an employer should also amend its employee handbook to prohibit cell phone conduct which violates the new law. In addition, in order to avoid time on the cell phone, an employer should address all directions to a job site or instructions for a company delivery prior to the employee driving to the destination. If an employee causes an accident or injuries while speaking on a cell phone and on company time, the employer will be liable for the employee’s actions.

If you need legal advice for counseling your employees or limiting your business’ liability, call me at (708) 480-2600.