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Will Cell Phone Use While Driving Soon Be Banned in Illinois?

Person using cell phone while driving.

The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would ban all cell phone use while driving in the State of Illinois, unless the driver is using a hand-free device.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 62-53 and now goes before the Illinois Seneate for consideration.

According to this article in the Huffington Post, the bill would exempt use of two-way mobile radios and calls made in emergencies.  Violators would face a moving violation and a $75 fine for their first offense.

“If we want to get serious about stopping distracted driving and saving lives on the roadway, there needs to be a severe penalty involved,” the bill's sponsor, state Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago), told the GateHouse News Service of the proposal.

Currently, Illinois and Chicago laws and ordinances prohibit the following use of electronic devices while driving:

  • Drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from using wireless phones (with or without hands-free devices) while driving.

  • All drivers are prohibited from text messaging, emailing, and using the Internet while driving.

  • Drivers are prohibited from using cellular phones in school speed zones and construction/road maintenance zones.

  • In Chicago, all drivers talking on mobile phones must use hands-free devices.

Evanston is considering taking a more stringent stance on cell phone use while driving by considering a ban on all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free devices, according to the Chicago Tribune. If approved, Evanston’s ban would be among the strictest laws in the country on cell phone while driving.

The ban is not without critics, however.  State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Countryside) has said that he voted against the proposal because he would like to see additional exceptions to the ban, including those situations in which “someone is actually in harm's way, or if they’re lost or if they're trying to navigate out of a high-crime area.”

As we earlier reported, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for a nationwide ban on texting and making phone calls while driving.  The NTSB's recommendation specifically asks all 50 states and Washington D.C. to ban all nonemergency use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices for all drivers.

Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving can be incredibly dangerous, causing auto accidents and trucking accidents.  In 2009, nearly 5,500 fatalities and 500,000 injuries resulted from crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the NHTSA.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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