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House approves handheld cellphone ban

Friday, Mar 1, 2013

* Daily Herald

The Illinois House Friday voted to make it illegal to talk on a handheld cellphone while driving.

Supporters argued reducing distractions for drivers could prevent wrecks and deaths behind the wheel. […]

The measure was approved by a 64-46 vote and now moves to the Senate. Using a hands-free device would remain legal.

But state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, voted against the plan and protested that talking on a phone would become a primary reason for police to pull over a driver. […]

The issue wasn’t a partisan one. State Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, said despite other distraction, lawmakers should ban the use of handheld phones anyway.

The bill is here

Expands the prohibition on driving while using an electronic communication device to include uses beyond composing, sending, or reading an electronic message. Expands the exceptions to include the use of hands-free devices, two-way radios, and electronic devices capable of performing multiple functions as long as these devices are not used for a prohibited purpose. Establishes a graduated fine scale for repeat offenses.

This isn’t gonna go over too well with the libertarian types, but I figure, considering the makeup of the Senate, that it could be on its way to the governor’s desk relatively soon. We’ll see.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Nieva - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    If you ever worked on the highway in any state you know how dangerous cell use is. I don’t know how many times someone has ran my flag paddle or almost hit me in a work zone. Most people cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. This is a good bill and I hope it passes.

  2. - lake county democrat - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    Both sides should hate it. Cell phone driving is as bad as drunk driving because of the attention it takes away - far more than a radio or even another passenger in the car (if you get into conditions that make driving difficult, the passengers may notice, or you may be able to indicate to them more easily that you need to concentrate for a moment). Hands-free doesn’t help.

    PS - Do these libertarians also believe car insurance companies should be allowed to reclaim payments from those who have an accident while talking on their cellphones? That would do more to discourage the practice than most of these “hands free” laws.

  3. - RNUG - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    Suspect it is really the insurance companies who are pushing this since they have to pay for the accidents that result from distracted driving.

  4. - Mason born - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    I’ve noticed twice in the last few months State police driving down the road with their laptops up and running while going highway speed. Now if i can’t talk on the cellphone maybe we should shut ISP laptops off once they exceed 10mph. Not saying you should be yaking away instead of driving but really a laptop?

  5. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    The research indicates that it is talking on the phone that is the distraction. Hands-on or hands-free. They should have banned both.

  6. - Shore - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    I know there’s no $$ right now, but I hope MADD or some other group like that is stepping up and talking to kids/college students about smartphones, texting, apps and driving. Phones in cars have been around 20 years and a lot of people have learned to drive and talk at the same time, but these younger kids with the texting/apps/driving really really worry a lot of people because you can’t focus on a screen and the car and not get someone hurt. And that’s without the other distractions that come with having music, other kids in the car, weather, ect.

  7. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==This isn’t gonna go over too well with the libertarian types==

    Because talking on a cell phone while driving is a constitutional right held precious by the authors of the Constitution! LOL

    Seriously, until about 15 years ago, pretty much no one spoke on a cell while driving. If you wanted to call someone, you had to get off the road, park your car, and use a pay phone. There is really no need to make phone calls while driving.

  8. - Shore - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:22 pm:

    this was also something extremely rare in the news these days and should be noted.

    “The issue wasn’t a partisan one. “

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    ==a lot of people have learned to drive and talk at the same time==

    Actually, no one has learned how to do this. The brain focuses on one task at a time.

  10. - Sir Reel - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    This could really cut into my Capitol FAX time.

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    I’m all for it. They’re a menace.

    And, yes, I’m all for you pulling over and eating your Big Mac, too.

    Shore, I like what you had to say about MADD. Some grassroots educational programs for the kids is a great idea.

    MADD changed everything when it comes to drinking and driving. Incredibly successful grassroots organization.

  12. - reformer - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Pot calling

    You’re right. The distraction is not due to having one hand on the wheel. This ban on only handheld phone use is not based on the research showing that hands-free yakking is just as distracting.

  13. - Moline Maleman - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:38 pm:

    Get it signed, the lives it saves may include mine ! While sitting on my porch one day I saw a young girl driving by with a long cigarette in her mouth and texting with both thumbs with her arms entwined in the steering wheel!!

  14. - Been There - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===This could really cut into my Capitol FAX time.===
    Same here. This law is probably a good idea even though I am someone who is guilty all the time.

  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===While sitting on my porch one day I saw a young girl driving by with a long cigarette in her mouth and texting with both thumbs===

    Texting while driving is already illegal.

  16. - The Captain - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    I often use the maps/directions app on my phone for getting from place to place when I’m going somewhere new. I’m guessing that’s illegal now so we’ll have to go back to having the paper map spread out on your lap again and try not to crash while looking down at the map.

  17. - lake county democrat - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    Related note: in Chicago its illegal for cab drivers to use a cell phone with passengers in the cab - hands free device or not - but for some reason this information was removed from the information card cabs are required to display.

  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    ===I’m guessing that’s illegal now===


    Stop guessing and start reading.

  19. - Liberty First - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Pot calling and reformer are right- however think of how many problems we are going to have with idiots pulling over to talk on their cell phones. In Springfield we still have people slamming on the breaks and parking themselves in the middle of a traffic lane when they see a cop or a funeral.

  20. - reformer - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    The National Transportation Safety Board has called on states to consider complete bans on cellphone use by drivers, including the use of hands-free phones. Most studies show that hands-free conversations are just as distracting to drivers as those involving hand-held phones.

    Teenage drivers in IL are already forbidden to drive while yakking on cellphones, handheld or hands-free, if I’m not mistaken.

  21. - Liberty First - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Pot calling the kettle - it is not quite true that the brain focuses on one thing at a time. Some people can listen and comprehend two stories being read aloud to them at the same time.

  22. - Jeeper - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    As I have said for decades, if you want to make “distracted driving” illegal in an effective way, you MUST MANDATE that every automobile be equipped with a strait-jacket and a gag for every seat belt other than the driver’s…

    I was NEVER so distracted as when I was married and getting chewed out by my (now ex-) wife for HUNDREDS of consecutive miles while the kids watched…

  23. - Judgment Day - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    Here we go again….

    So, now we’re going to turn a certain segment of our LE into the “cell phone police”. Instead of having ’speed traps’, we’ll have ‘cell phone traps’.

    What happens if you are from out of state traveling through IL - and just happen to be talking on your cell phone while driving, because it’s not illegal in your home state? Nice way to say “Thank you for visiting Illinois”.

    So do we have to put up large billboard style signs on all the roads coming into Illinois about ‘distracted driving’ and all the rest stops (Oh yeah, that’s right - the ones that we can still afford to keep open).

    If we’re going to pass a law against talking on cell phones while driving, why not extend it to talking on cell phones while walking? I’ve seen people walk into things while talking on their cell phones - why not ban ‘talking while walking’.

    I’ll be waiting to see the poor judge who has to preside over these type of cases. It will be like “What did I ever do in life to deserve this?”

    Has any anybody really thought this through?

    Does this mean when somebody gets pulled over for talking on cell phone while driving, that LE is going to have to document both the exact time and who the perp was talking to, and the phone number in case it goes into court. Might they actually have to confiscate the cell phone? Otherwise, it’s just a ‘He Said She Said” type of scenario.

    You might think I’m make more out of this than there really is, and that might be true for “Today”. But if you’ve been paying attention, there’s this new tech out there called Google Glass, and it uses HUD (Heads Up Display) technology.

    Before you say I’m out there on this one, you might want to read this article (See ).

    Technology changes fast. Legislation doesn’t. I have to ask myself if this isn’t going to turn out being an excellent case of the State of Illinois going out of it’s way to prove that we are technological Luddites.

  24. - wizard - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    jeeper-under those conditions you stayed married long enought to have kids?:)

  25. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    –jeeper-under those conditions you stayed married long enought to have kids?:)–

    LOL, you think he’s unique? Plenty of men and women will endure all sorts of things for their kids.

  26. - wizard - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:23 pm:

    word, i know, married the same woman twice:) divorced her the first time, not the son. however still together after 15 yrs the 2nd time

  27. - Sunshine - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    Great idea about getting MADD involved.

    50-years ago I had an old banker tell me he could remember back in the day when you had to lie to a person’s face. Well, those days are gone, same as texting and using a hand-held cell phone while driving.

    Hands free calling systems will increase but like Lake County said, it’s the talking that is a distraction. Certainly texting is, as well as looking down to dial a number, reaching up to activate hands free calling, and putting out a cigarette butt that fell into your crotch. They all can result in chaos on the road.

    I propose that we add a provision that for any driver who talks on their hands-free car phone, they must have one passenger who will be the designated screamer….to help the driver maneuver.

  28. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    If communities could afford additional police to ticket on this offense, state and local governments could balance out their pension plans, judging from the non-stop violations I see on my daily walk to work.
    Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a sworn officer on my almost one mile walk from Union Station to work in over two weeks. Lots of aggressive beggars though.
    Isn’t there a governmental algebra which cancels out laws due to lack of enforcement?

  29. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    Unnecessary. Call me Libertarian if you want to on this one, but it goes too far. Take a look sometime at the ALL SORTS of things people grab with one hand that could arguably cause distraction while driving while so briefly looking away–cups, mugs, combs, brushes, paper Map directions, Atlases, School notebooks, Newspapers etc. and so forth–where will it end? And why WOULDn’t those things at times become equally as distracting and dangerous? The passage of this restriction is yet just another shot at Big Brother cutting into our freedom in the name of safety. You CAN drive safely while holding a cell phone to your ear–I have and I know a gazillion others who agree with me on this–it’s a question of being responsible.

  30. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost been creamed by an idiot on a cell phone while I’ve been directing traffic.

    Also - holding a cell up to your melon restricts your mobility and visibility. Again, I’ve almost been broadsided in traffic by an idiot holding their phone to their left ear and lunging between lanes blind many, many times.

    I’m all for this one.

  31. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    ==If we’re going to pass a law against talking on cell phones while driving, why not extend it to talking on cell phones while walking? I’ve seen people walk into things while talking on their cell phones - why not ban ‘talking while walking’.==

    If I’m distracted while walking, it’s my life; if I’m distracted while driving, it’s someone else’s life.

  32. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    good idea to ban it. makes me stop and think when I’m desperate to read something on the smart phone. sometimes not convenient to pull over, but it will be a good new law. come on Senate, get it done!

  33. - Jake From Elwood - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    I guess I am going to have to change my behavior.
    Oh well.

  34. - Judgment Day - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    “If I’m distracted while walking, it’s my life; if I’m distracted while driving, it’s someone else’s life.”

    What the person talking on the phone walks into somebody else and accidentally ‘nudges’ them off a curb and into the street?

  35. - ChrisB - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    Eh, just mandate that everyone goes back to driving manual. I tried driving stick and talking on my phone once. It proved to be pretty much impossible. Never tried it again.

  36. - milkman - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    Just another revenue bill. They’ll be making some money on this

  37. - Responsa - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===This isn’t gonna go over too well with the libertarian types==

    Well, I’m a “libertarian type” and it goes over very well with me. Although texting while driving is illegal people still do it all the time using their hand held smart phones. Under this law with no reason at all now to legally have the cell phone in hand while driving it should further serve to eradicate sneak texting. I think it’ll cut back on accidents–especially rear enders. If you’ve ever been in stop and go traffic nervously watching a texter/talker right behind you, you know what I mean.

  38. - Rusty618 - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 4:18 pm:

    I am not trying to be sexist at all, but I sat and watched cars drive by me one day, and 8 out of 10 people talking on the phone were female. It will be interesting to see how this will be enforced. Any word on the amount of fine?

  39. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 4:23 pm:

    ===Any word on the amount of fine?===

    It’s in the linked bill.

  40. - Verizon Guy - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 4:27 pm:

    I got to get this fixed

  41. - Jaded - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 4:30 pm:

    =Any word on amount of fine=
    $75 1st offense, $100 2nd, $125 3rd, $150 after that.

    For those of you driving and unable to look up the bill online.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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