A bill to make texting and driving a more serious offense in Illinois has passed in the House.

House Bill 4846 classifies first time texting-and-driving offenses as moving violations, a change to the current law, which took effect in 2014, which treated first-time offenses as nonmoving violations.

The penalty under the new bill would result in fines and court costs. A person convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period can have their driver’s license suspended.

“With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and the nation,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “This important legislation will make our roads safer. No driver should be texting while driving.” 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. The NHTSA estimates that at least 25 percent of police-reported crashes involve some form of distracted driving. Texting while driving is considered among the most deadly forms of distracted driving.

The bill now advances to the Senate.