Illinois distracted drivers face harsher penalties due to new driving laws

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - If your phone is in your hand while driving that's a moving violation under a new law that went into effect July first and if you take a drive through Rockford you are bound to find someone doing just that.

"The first offense is now a moving violation upon conviction. So, previously it was not. So now it basically carries the same weight as a speeding citation," said Illinois State Police District 16 Captain, Carl Heintz.

Illinois state police are on the lookout for all types of distractions.

"Pets, makeup, food, radio, maps, books, and other passengers," Heintz said.

Heintz says phones are the biggest problem.

"You don't want to injure anybody for any reason and to do so because you had to look at your phone is selfish and completely avoidable," Heintz said.

Door Dash driver Kerri Fryer says these strict laws make it hard for her.

"Sometimes it's you know, go through the gate and the password, or sometimes it leaves it on the porch and you don't necessarily get those message still you're already in the car on the drive there and it's more difficult pulling over to the side of the road checking those messages and now I’m taking time out of my delivery," Fryer said.

But she says she's doing everything she can to obey the law.

"I use one of those holders and put it more up at eye level just so you can see it and use the one-touch just the one-touch," Fryer said.

Heintz says using Bluetooth, voice command and other tools are allowed while driving, as long as you can stay concentrated on driving.

"We just want everybody to be safe," Heintz said.

The first offense is $75 and increases by $25 for each ticket, more than three moving violations in a year can result in a license suspension.