City Raking In Millions From Drivers Talking On Cell Phones

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re driving in the city and plan to talk on your cell phone, you might want to think twice about whether to do it without a hands-free device.

AS WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the City of Chicago has been cashing in because so many motorists get ticketed for failing to use hands-free devices while driving and talking on cell phones.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The Chicago Tribune reports last year alone, the city pulled in $2.2 million in fines from cell phone tickets.

Chicago Police officers have stepped up their enforcement of the cell phone hands-free law. The Tribune says police issued 23,292 tickets last year, and the fines are not a mere slap on the wrist. They amount to $100.

A city Revenue Department Administrator tells the Tribune the cell phone hands-free law is all about safety, and not about bringing in revenue for the city.

The law dates back to 2005. Originally, the cases went to Cook County Traffic Court with other traffic citations, and proceeds from the fines were split between the city, the county and the State of Illinois, the Tribune reports.

But that changed in 2008, when a new ordinance sent most of the tickets to the city Administrative Hearings Department, in order to comply with the Illinois Vehicle Code, the newspaper reports.

Once that change happened, all the ticket revenues went to the city, and the state and county lost $858,000 and $352,000, respectively, the Tribune reports.

  • I see morons

    For all you idiots out there, hands free means no phone in your hands. Not talking through the speaker phone while the phone is still in your hands. Bunch of morons

  • tom Sharp

    While $2.2 million may seem like a lot of money, I see that much in violations every week, just walking my dog in Lincoln Park twice a day!!

  • Mary

    why should i believe its about safety & not about the money. i grew up here in chicago,its ALWAYS about the money.

    • Roberta Waker

      Maybe if you and your family get into an accident caused by someone with a cell phone hanging out of their ear and not paying attention to his/her driving while almost killing you and your family; you might change your mind. In this case it IS about safety. If the idiot that blew a stop sign and almost killed me and my husband wasn’t on a cell phone; there wouldn’t have been an accident, totalled out van, thousands in medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering from the after effects even today; not to mention the aggravation involved. It IS and should be about safety first, money second, because that’s the only way to get through to these lawbreakers that are addicted to cell phones.

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    It’s not about safety because the hazard doesn’t lie with holding the phone, it lies with the mind paying attention to the conversation on the phone, which still happens if you wear a head set. This is the joke of this law and why it is about revenue and not safety.

  • M.S.

    This should not only be for the drivers- there are plenty of morons WALKING right in front of oncoming cars while they’re blabbering away on their cellphone. I have hit the brakes plenty of times while someone walks around with no regard for drivers.

    • tom Sharp

      M.S. I totally agree with you. When I worked down town, I twice pulled someone on a cell phone out of on-coming traffic because they were oblivious to the red light! For the life of me I can’t figure out what all these people have to say to each other all day long. They can’t be off of those things for more ten minutes 24-7.

  • LOTD

    How about the number of cops I’ve seen doing the same d@ mn thing?? I suppose they are above the law??

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