CHICAGO – Drivers in Illinois will be prohibited from using videoconferencing or video chat applications such as Zoom or Google Meet while operating a vehicle under a new law passed by state Rep. Michael J. Kelly, D-Chicago.
“As new technologies emerge, lawmakers need to be vigilant to ensure that the laws are updated to take them into account,” Kelly said. “That’s why, when I learned that existing laws around distracted driving didn’t explicitly cover videoconferencing, I knew it was important to close this hazardous loophole.”
Prior to Kelly’s House Bill 2431, drivers were technically permitted to be in a video meeting while at the wheel so long as the device being used was hands-free and the call could be both initiated and terminated using a single button-press.
Kelly and other advocates were concerned that video calls were inherently more distracting than voice-only calls because drivers would look at the faces on the screen out of habit. The bill does not prohibit hands-free voice-only phone calls which were permissible under pre-existing law.
The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate and has been signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
“You might think that something like this would be obvious, but making assumptions is where gaps in policy come from,” Kelly said. “Promoting public safety requires vigilance alongside very intentional action. You can’t just leave it up to ‘common sense’.”