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Tougher Penalties For Texting And Driving Among New Illinois Traffic Laws In 2019

CHICAGO (CBS) – More than a dozen new transportation-related laws will go into effect in Illinois in 2019, including harsher penalties for distracted driving.

Beginning July 1, 2019, anyone caught texting behind the wheel will be issued a moving violation, which will go on their driving record. Since 2014 a first texting and driving offense has been considered a non-moving violation and does not affect the person driving record. The $75 fine will still apply to a first offense.

Starting in January children under two must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Penalties will be up to the discretion of local authorities, but Illinois State Police say a first offense could earn a $75 fine and up to $200 for a second offense. Children who are taller than 40 inches or weigh more than 50 pounds are exempt. Doctors also recommend you keep your child in a rear-facing seat until the age of two.

And the "Dutch Reach" method is being added to the Illinois' Rules of the Road manual, and bicycle safety questions will be asked during the state driver's license test. The method has drivers and passengers reach across their bodies to open the door after parallel parking. The method is meant to remind people to look back for cyclists before opening their doors in order to prevent "dooring" crashes.

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