- May 23, 2008
- Reaction score
- Schaumburg, IL
Starting January 1st...
Quinn signs statewide cell phone driving ban - chicagotribune.comIllinois drivers will have to peel the cell phones away from their ears under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday that bans the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel.
Motorists could still gab and drive if they use hands-free technology to conduct their conversations. Otherwise they’ll need to pull off the road to make a call or face fines starting at $75. The law takes effect Jan. 1.
“Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented,” Quinn said in a statement. “Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel.”
Quinn’s signature means Illinois will join the ranks of about a dozen other states with similar restrictions and will allow drivers to operate under a uniform ban instead of a confusing patchwork of local laws that vary from town to town. Illinois already prohibits texting while driving.
Violators will be fined $75 for a first offense, but could pay as much as $150 for repeat offenses as well as face a moving violation on their driving record. Three moving violations within a year could lead to a driver’s license being suspended.
Drivers still could legally make calls on hand-held phones in the case of an emergency.
While supporters contend the law will cut down on distracted driving, opponents argue the burden should fall on drivers to make sure they are safe on the roads, not police who will be required to enforce the law.
Despite the growing push to require drivers to put their phones on speaker or use a headset, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have found little difference between drivers who use hand-held cell phones and those who use hands-free devices.
Rather, researchers contend that all cell phone use is equally distracting once a conversation starts, noting that accident rates did not change in other states that have implemented bans on hand-held phones behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, Quinn also signed a measure into law that would increase penalties for drivers who injure or kills others in crashes caused by the use of a cell phone or other electronic device.
Distracted motorists who harm other drivers would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time. That measure also goes into effect Jan. 1.