With 2014 just around the corner, one of your resolutions may be to become a safer driver.
Although it is tempting to answer your cell phone while behind the wheel, it could end up costing you more than just some service minutes.
A statewide hands-free cell phone law goes into effect on January 1 in Illinois.
"Already officers have been notified of the change in the law. They are prepared from our conferences," Adams County States Attorney Jon Barnard said.
Illinois police officers are ready to begin ticketing violators of the hands-free driving law as early as midnight on Tuesday. The new law details that any driver caught holding or dialing a cell phone will be pulled over and ticketed.
Barnard says the fine is designed to send drivers a message.
"The fine for violating the new hands-free law will be the same as a speeding ticket less than twenty miles an hour," Barnard explained. He says multiple violations could have more serious consequences.
"It can result ultimately, if you get three of them or two of them if your under twenty-one, in the suspension of your license," Barnard said.
But the new law doesn't entirely ban drivers from making or receiving calls, drivers just have to use hands-free alternatives. Cell phone accessories such as blue tooth devices, allow drivers to connect phones wirelessly to their car to avoid violating the hands-free law.
"There's a phone button on all the blue tooth radios and it's a one hit answer and they also have voice dialing which is a single click as well,' Austin, an area audio/visual car specialist said.
Installed wireless systems will allow drivers to pick up calls without touching their phones.
"The ring comes through the door speakers, in the vehicle and there's a fitted microphone in the car. So everything is completely hands free," Austin explained.
The hands-free law will only go into effect in Illinois, and will not impact Iowa or Missouri residents in their own states.
The state of Missouri doesn't have a cell phone ban, but it does block drivers under the age of 21 from texting.
The state of Iowa bans all drivers from texting and driving and cell phone usage behind the wheel is illegal for all learner permit and intermediate license holders.