State House Passes Cell Phone Ban For Illinois Drivers

UPDATED 03/09/12 6:34 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The State of Illinois is a step closer to implementing a statewide ban on hand-held cell phone use while driving.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, the bill, HB 3972, passed 62-53 Thursday in the state House. It now moves to the Senate.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

The lead sponsor, state Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago), says drivers could still use Bluetooth devices, speakerphones or other hands-free devices under the bill. The bill also makes exceptions for two-way mobile radios, and for cell phone use in emergencies.

But D’Amico says hand-held cell phones are just too dangerous to use while driving.

“When you see these families come up in front of you, and they’re bawling their eyes out because they lost a loved one due to something like this, I don’t think it’s going too far,” D’Amico said.

State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Countryside) said he might go along with the idea if there were modifications. But he voted against the bill as-is.

“If 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, I don’t think they should be subject to a violation,” he said.

Under the proposal, using a cell phone while driving would be a moving violation, like a speeding ticket. Three moving violations in a year and drivers can lose their license.

The City of Chicago has banned cell phone use while driving since 2005. Several other municipalities have similar bans.

In Evanston, an even more draconian ordinance is under consideration. Aldermen there are considering a bill that would also ban the use of hands-free telephony devices while driving.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Me

    Nice of the state to not pay attention to the studies proving that cell phone use, regardless of ‘hands-free’ v hand held, is a distraction. Its the act of talking with noone else to aid in paying attention to the road that is the problem.

  • tom sharp

    Don’t worry cell phone users who drive, less than 1 in a 1000 get ticketed. Please feel free to continue to risk life and limb , not mention the well being of pedestrians and other drivers.

    • Roberta Waker

      Don’t worry, Tom, they will continue to talk on cell phones with or without the law. Some idiot on a cell phone almost killed me and my husband a few years ago; he just left his house which was only THREE blocks away, blew a stop sign, totaled our vehicle, and sent us both to the hospital. When I see people with cell phones hanging from their ears today, I want to ram it down their ear. Good law. If it’s an emergency or you need info or directions, PULL OVER.

  • Darlene

    “Lawmakers who oppose the bill complain that it would make Illinois a “nanny state.””

    Which lawmakers complained? Who are those guys? Illinois IS already a “nanny state” and a lot of lawmakers made it that way.

    Who will enforce this (ahem) “law”?

  • AL T

    In Chicago, it’s not a moving violation. It’s treated like a parking ticket. Proving once again that it’s only about revenue, not safety, in Chicago.

    • Pamala E.

      It can be written as either a moving violation or an ordinance violation in Chicago. If the cell phone violation is the only violation, an ordinance violation ticket is written.

  • Just axin

    Call your state sen immed and tell them to oppose. What a bunch of a holes. We’re the bigger ones if we let this happen.

    • Roberta Waker

      Sorry, Just. I totally agree with this law because people are too dumb to figure out they are a menace on the road while on their cell phones. Soon the insurance companies will NOT cover you if you cause an accident while on a cell phone, which will actually be more of a deterrent than this law because YOU will have to pay for all damages, medical bills, lost work, etc. Maybe when people are threatened with the loss of their homes and everything they own; they will get smart and stop using these stupid phones while driving, except for emergencies.

      • Me

        Having the Insurance (those evil entities that just want to take your money) not cover you makes more sense than the State saying don’t do it. Some people can handle doing more than one thing at a time…others can’t. Its not just the phone to the ear crowd that is the problem. Its the ones chatting away on their ‘hands-free’ completely ignoring the world around them as the drive along the road that are a danger too.

  • fred

    They could pass a law that makes ALL cell phone usage in a moving vehicle illegal. Then the cell phone service providers could be mandated to determine when a cell phone connection goes from tower to tower, thus indicating it is in a moving vehicle. A moving violation could then be issued to the cell phone owner. The cell phone service provider could be reimbursed for the expense of reporting violators and the state could collect a lot of revenue.

    • FB Fan
  • Money Talks, Laws Walk

    Hmmm thank you my nanny boss, sirs!!!
    As a government worker it’s a godsend.
    I just hate it when my boss calls me with a work order when I’m 30 miles from the office. Now he’ll have to wait for me to come all the way back to the office to give me heck, I mean additional work, I can pace myself and not be under the gun per-se. Built in excuse, “I was driving…” Now if I see an issue or problem or hazardous condition, it can wait until I get back into the office.
    Thank you my nanny government boss, thank you, you dumb assssss.

  • John Bosanac

    For the sake of safety I agree with use without handheld devices, but the law-makers need to remember they have to follow the law TOO!

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