Illinois to impose tougher penalty for texting while driving

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: A driver uses a phone while behind the wheel of a car on April 30, 2016 in New York City. As accidents involving drivers using phones or other personal devices mount across the country, New York lawmakers have proposed a new test called the Textalyzer to help curb mobile phone usage behind the wheel. Similar to a Breathalyzer test, the Textalyzer would allow police to request phones from drivers involved in accidents and then determine if the phone had been used while the drivers operated their vehicles. The controversial bill is currently in the early committee stage. According to statistics, In 2014 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 were killed in car accidents involving distracted drivers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — People caught texting while driving will face stiffer penalties under a new Illinois law.

Starting July 1, 2019 drivers caught texting will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record. Anyone convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period may have their license suspended.

Under the current law that took effect in 2014 a first offense for texting while driving is a non-moving violation and doesn’t affect a person’s driving record.

Secretary of State Jesse White says the law is needed because distracted driving has become a serious problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates at least 25 percent of crashes reported to police involve distracted driving.

White says the new law Gov. Bruce Rauner signed this week “will make our roads safer.”