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Reuben Zimmerman, 15, completes a driving test at Fisher Driving School in Normal while sitting under a sign reminding students to turn off their cellphones while driving.

Well, it's something.

If you obey the law and don't text while driving, a new state law is at least a start to address the fact that so many other people do.

The new law, which will take effect next summer, increases the penalty for first-time offenders who are caught texting while driving.

It reclassifies the first offense as a moving violation — more serious than the current situation, in effect since 2014, where first-time offenders are given a ticket that is classified as a non-moving violation. That's like getting a ticket a if you're pulled over because your taillight isn't working.

While the change might not be as tough as some people would like, insurers note that moving violations are considered when determining a driver's insurance rates and whether to insure those drivers.

Typically, in the industry, a driver will see an increase of 10 to 20 percent in their rates if convicted of a moving violation, an industry representative said in a recent Associated Press story.

It's impossible to know how many people text while they are behind the wheel — and it's unrealistic to think that no one does it, at least once in a while.

And, don't think it's just teens and young people. We dare anyone to say they've never seen an older adult on their phone while waiting for the light to turn green, or while the car was moving.

For far too many people, texting is considered part of the driving experience. They see no problem whatsoever in checking their cellphones , and replying to whatever they see.

That is breaking the law — just like talking on a phone, and not using a seat belt, which most drivers do before they even start the car.

And the dangers are real.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. The agency estimates at least 25 percent of police-reported crashes involve some type of distracted driving, including texting.

The Illinois State Police has estimated that texting while driving makes a person 23 times more likely to crash.

In addition to having a moving violation on their driving record, people convicted of texting and driving under the new law also will face fines and court costs determined by a judge.

A driver convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period is subject to a driver's license suspension, for example.

In this age of instant communication and a perceived need by too many people to instantly respond to any communication they receive, we offer this advice:

If you simply cannot stop yourself from checking your texts or responding to one you receive when driving, do everyone else a favor and pull over and stop before you respond.

It's safer for you and your fellow drivers. And, really, is it essential that you respond immediately to every text you get?

We doubt it.

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