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.
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