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City Raking In Millions From Drivers Talking On Cell Phones

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Driver On Cell Phone

(Credit: CBS)

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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.

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