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Here's what you need to know about the Illinois crackdown on texting while driving going into effect July 1

Javonte Anderson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- Illinois drivers caught using their cellphones will soon face harsher penalties that could ultimately lead to a license suspension.

Beginning July 1, drivers caught using an electronic device will no longer be issued just a warning ticket on their first offense. Instead, drivers will be issued a moving violation. Three moving violations in a year will result in a license suspension.

Here's what you need to know about Illinois' new law on texting while driving.

In addition to the moving violation, a person who violates the law will be fined a maximum of $75 on the first offense, $100 on the second offense, $125 on the third offense and $150 for all future offenses.

The ban is not limited to cellphones and includes any "electronic communication device."

"It's not only texting. If they're using the electronic device, they can be fined," Mindy Carroll, an Illinois State Police spokeswoman said.

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The new law does not apply to:

-- A law enforcement officer or operator of an emergency vehicle performing official duties

-- A driver using an electronic device to report an emergency

-- A driver using a phone in hands-free mode, which can include the use of a headset or headphones

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