(The Center Square) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is leading the charge in pushing for legislation that would ban the use of Zoom and other video chat equipment while driving.
“We need to take steps to change the culture surrounding distracted driving, which will lead to more responsible drivers and ultimately save lives,” Giannoulias said in a news release. “Zooming takes hands, eyes and minds off the focus of driving. Our goal is that a combination of increased education, stronger laws and tougher enforcement will encourage drivers to change bad behaviors for the better.”
Sponsored by state Rep. Marcus Evans and state Sen. Javier Cervantes, House Bill 2431 also would outlaw “the use of phones and other devices to watch or participate in video conferencing” and ban drivers from streaming videos or accessing social media platforms while behind the wheel.
Across the state, texting while driving has been outlawed for more than the last decade and the use of cell phones while driving has been outlawed since 2014, requiring drivers to invest in hand-free devices.
“Illinois has been a leader in cracking down on distracted driving, but we need to remain vigilant and continue to refine our laws as new technologies emerge,” Evans said.
Under the newly proposed measure, first offenses to the video chatting law would mean a $75 ticket and three moving violations over a yearlong period would result in a license suspension.
Last year, 12,700 drivers were convicted of distracted driving in the state while across the country, the National Safety Council reports distracted driving annually kills more than 3,000 people each year, or about eight each day.
“We need to create the same kind of stigma for distracted driving that now exists for drunk driving,” Cervantes added. “Raising awareness and passing common-sense legislation like this can help achieve that same success when it comes to texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving like video conferencing.”