Put the phone down while driving or face a ticket

By Katherine Tellez

December 23, 2013 Updated Dec 23, 2013 at 8:17 PM CDT

Central Illinois -- Starting next week, answering your cell phone while driving could cost you a ticket.

Illinois is following a number of other states who have already gone hands free.

It's something we've all done. When the phone rings while we're driving -- we answer it.

"Distracted driving has become a huge problem in society," said Illinois State Trooper Dustin Pierce. "There are a lot of crashes that could have been avoided if people were just paying attention."

When you're behind the wheel your focus should be on the road.

State troopers say talking on the phone is just one of the things we do behind the wheel. Distracted driving is more dangerous than driving drunk.

Using your cell phone while driving is going to cost you after January 1st -- unless you have a hands free device, or bluetooth.

There are several different kinds out there ranging from as little as $30 up to $110.

If you choose not to use hands free, the first ticket will cost you $75.

Get caught a second time, $100; and expect a moving violation.

"I see some of those people that are just going to wait until they get their fist ticket," said Mathieu Bastien with Bastien Wireless. "You're gonna spend less on one of these instead of how many tickets you'll get."

State Troopers say even though this law isn't perfect, it does make it safer.

Now you can just use the speaker function on your phone, but here's the catch. You can not hold it.

It has to be "hands free" meaning you can put it on your dashboard and talk, but, if it's caught in your hands at all you could get a ticket.

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