BELLEVILLE (KSDK) – Talking on a cell phone while driving is about to become illegal in Illinois. The new "hands-free" law goes into effect Jan. 1. So, drivers are gearing up for the change. They'll need to use Bluetooth, speaker or other hands-free devices in order to avoid a ticket. The fine for the first offense will be $75 dollars and it increases by $25 for each subsequent offense, maxing out at $150.
The move's intent is to make roadways safer. Distracted driving killed around 240 people in Illinois within one year, according to the Department of Traffic Safety's most recently calculated numbers, which are from 2010.
As soon as the law passed, Wireless Advantage in Belleville put a plan in place to educate its customers.
"We make sure that we prompt every customer that comes to the door," said sales associate Eric Broaden. "Very few people leave here without a Bluetooth once we tell them about it."
The store even rolled out a special earpiece promotion in response to the law. And Broaden says the promotion wasn't just to make money.
"We want to make sure everyone is driving safe and no one is getting in trouble with the law," said Broaden.
Illinois is one of 12 states to pass a hands-free law.