infotainment, Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyerBy now, most drivers are aware that using a cell phone while driving is a dangerous proposition. Public awareness campaigns around the country have been urging drivers for years to put their phones down when behind the wheel for the sake of the safety. In addition to being unsafe, using a hand-held cell phone while driving is also illegal in many jurisdictions, including Illinois. If you are caught using a hand-held electronic device for talking or texting, you can be cited and fined up to $75 for a first offense.

Understanding the Law

That statute that governs the use of cell phones while driving in Illinois actually applies to a wide range of “electronic communication devices,” including personal digital assistants (PDAs), electronic tablets—such as iPads—laptop computers, and of course, “hand-held wireless telephones.” The law expressly states that the limitation on the use of electronic devices while driving does not apply to GPS devices, navigation systems, or any “device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.”  Unfortunately, systems that fall into the last category have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the dangers are only growing.

The Advance of Technology

In just a little over a century, the American automotive industry has progressed from Ford’s Model T car in 1908 to self-driving vehicles produced by several different companies. Today, the average automobile is equipped with dozens of features, including multiple airbags, proximity alerts, and even assisted braking systems. Higher-end vehicles also generally feature a large touchscreen in the middle of the front console which allows drivers and passengers to access navigation systems, control satellite radio, and even make phone calls while driving. These so-called “infotainment” systems are intended to make the driving experience more efficient, but they are also creating new hazards.

According to a study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, up to one-third of U.S. adults use infotainment systems on the road. Most drivers use them for fairly innocuous reasons, such as playing music or getting GPS directions, but it is not really the purpose that is the problem. Infotainment systems generally present a large amount of information on the screen at any given time.

When playing music from a satellite radio channel, for example, the screen may display the artist’s name, the name of the song, the album name, the year it was released, the name of the channel, the channel number, the genre of music, and more. Processing all of the information takes time. In fact, the AAA study found that the average infotainment system user is distracted mentally and visually for up to 40 seconds per instance. Most experts estimate that a driver who is texting while driving is only distracted for about five seconds at a time.

Distractions Affect Driving Performance

While it is not technically illegal to use an onboard infotainment system while driving, the distraction that it causes could lead to a traffic ticket anyway. It is easy to lose track of your speed, traffic signals, lane markers, and even other vehicles when your attention is elsewhere. A few seconds are all it takes to break a traffic law and to end up with a citation.

If you have received a ticket for a traffic violation, you may have options to keep it from affecting your driving record. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows traffic violations attorney to discuss your case today. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation.



Posted in Cell Phone Use, Traffic Violations | Tagged , , , ,

pulled over, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyIn a previous post on this bog, we discussed some of the ways you can make your experience with the police go smoother and more efficiently when you are pulled over for a traffic violation. Nearly every person who drives a motor vehicle will get pulled over by police at some point. For some, it will be caused by something as minor as a broken taillight, while others will have more dramatic encounters with police. If you are ever pulled over by police, take the following steps to ensure that you do not make the situation more dangerous or difficult than necessary.

Do Not Exit the Car Without Being Told to Do So

Tension between police and citizens have never been higher than in recent years. Prominent cases of alleged police brutality receive copious media attention. For example, many have attributed the 2014 death of Eric Garner to the New York City Police Department. Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri led to the public looting of businesses, vandalism of vehicles, arson, first responders being shot at, and violent conflicts between protestors and police.

Keep in mind that when you are being pulled over, that police are looking for any sign of danger and may interpret innocent movements as threatening. Police officers have no way of knowing if you are a threat or not when they reach your vehicle. To get out of the car before being asked or otherwise be aggressive will only make the encounter worse for the person getting pulled over.

Do Understand Your Rights About Sobriety Tests

When you get into a vehicle and driver on public roads, you are technically giving your consent to being tested for intoxication. This is called “implied consent.” However, if an officer suspects you of drinking, you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or other sobriety tests. The downside to choosing this option is that refusing a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol content (BAC) test once you have been arrested automatically results in a driver’s license suspension of one year. If you submit to the test, your results exceed the legal limit, and it is your first offense, your license will only be suspended for six months. However, you may also face further punitive consequences if you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).

Do Not Agree to Interrogation Without an Attorney

If you are questioned by police, exercise your right to remain silent. There is no need to be rude or aggressive. Simply say “I want to remain silent,” or, “I want to speak to a lawyer.” By law, someone cannot be arrested or detained simply for refusing to answer questions. Wait until you have a lawyer present before agreeing to being interrogated by police.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested following a traffic stop, keep in mind that you still have rights. Regardless of the severity of the charges, every person has the right to speak to an attorney and receive legal guidance. At the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley, our experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers are devoted to protecting rights of our clients and helping them get their lives back on track. Call 847-253-3100 today to set up a free, confidential consultation of your case.



Posted in Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney, Traffic Violations | Tagged , , , , ,

police, Arlington Heights traffic violations attorneyGetting pulled over by police is never a fun thing to go through. One minute you are driving down the road and the next moment you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Police can pull a motorist over for a number of reasons including for traffic violations such as speeding, running a red light, or suspicion of drunk driving. If you are pulled over by a police officer, it is important that you take certain steps to ensure your interaction with the officer goes as smoothly as possible.

Do Get Organized Before You Are Pulled Over

It is always a good idea to have your vehicle’s registration, your driver’s license, and proof of insurance in an easily accessible place. If you know where these items are before you are pulled over, it can make the process much faster and easier.

Do Pull Over as Soon as It Is Safe and Cooperate

If you see flashing lights or hear a siren, you should immediately pull over to the right. If the police car drives past you, you can assume the officer is pursuing someone else. If he or she continues to drive behind you, you are probably being pulled over. When there is a chance to do so safely, pull over onto the shoulder of the road. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and roll down the window when asked. The officer will ask for your license and registration. Get those items and hand them to the officer when asked.

Do Not Be Aggressive or Argumentative

The police officer pulling you over has no idea what to expect when he reaches your car. After all, someone who is a threat to an officer and someone who is not a threat can look the same at first glance. Do not talk back to the officer or otherwise anger him or her. If asked to step out of the car, most experts suggest cooperating with this request. If you are given a ticket, accept it without complaint. You will have an opportunity to argue your case later in traffic court if you believe the ticket is not justified.

Do Not Consent to a Search

Police must have “probable cause” to search a vehicle. Probable cause can include illegal substances seen in plain view or other evidence which leads an officer to believe a crime has been committed. Many police officers will try to “convince” a motorist to give their consent for a search. An officer may say something like, “You don’t mind if I take a look around your car, do you?” If an officer says something like this, politely respond that you do not consent to a search.

If you do consent to a search, your ability to challenge the search in the future is gone. If you do not give consent and the officer searches the car claiming to have probable cause, you and your attorney can challenge the validity of the search later in court.

Let Us Help

In an upcoming post, we will address a few more important tips for how to handle yourself when you are pulled over for a possible traffic violation. If you have any other questions or concerns about police interactions during a traffic stop, the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Cosley Law Office can help. Call 847-253-3100 for a free, confidential consultation today.



Posted in Traffic Violations | Tagged , , , , ,