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Don't Get Distracted During Your Summer Road Trip

Summer vacation is a time for cross-country road trips, while extended drives make GPS-enabled and Web-connected mobile phones that much more attractive. But as an MSNBC article points out, be aware of different states' distracted driving laws before setting out.

Illinois enacted a ban on sending or reading text messages while driving on Jan. 1, as an ABC Chicago article explains. But while Chicago DUI lawyers don't typically handle distracted driving cases, distraction is strikingly similar to intoxication and often just as dangerous.

Today's smart phones are the Swiss Army Knife of road trips. Many of them run applications for finding cheap gas, inexpensive hotels and traffic updates; while most phones nowadays come equipped with GPS-enabled navigation software.

But if you enjoy your handheld device, just make sure you're not the one driving. If you live in Illinois, you already know the drill by now: Pull over if you need to read or send a text message, or at least wait until you're stuck in a traffic jam.

As of now, 30 states have enacted laws banning texting while driving. 

The article details a few of the more popular road trip routes in the country, starting with the "Mother Road" along the legendary Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. First of all, it's important to remember that Chicago bans the use of handheld phones while driving entirely, while Illinois only prohibits texting while driving.

Missouri bans texting while driving for motorists under the age of 21, while Kansas bans the practice altogether. Texas law bans text messaging and the use of handheld devices while driving in school crossing zones only.

Oklahoma will ban texting while driving in November, but neither Arizona nor New Mexico has texting-while-driving laws on the books. California motorists are prohibited from using handheld devices, except with a hands-free device, or texting while driving.

The article provides much more detail; but most of all, enjoy your trip.

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