Illinois House committee endorses hand-held cellphone ban in cars

2013-02-20T17:43:00Z Illinois House committee endorses hand-held cellphone ban in carsBy L.E. Hlavach |
February 20, 2013 5:43 pm  • 

SPRINGFIELD — A proposal to ban drivers from using hand-held cellphones was endorsed Wednesday in an Illinois House committee.

“A hand-held cellphone is a huge distraction while driving a car,” said state Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, who sponsored the legislation.

Drivers using a hand-held cellphone are eight times more likely to be in an accident, he said, and California experienced a “dramatic” drop in accidents when that state adopted a similar ban.

Illinois already bans texting while driving, and 76 communities across the state have some restrictions on use of hand-held cellphones while driving, which was one reason a Verizon representative testified in favor of the measure — Illinois cellphone customers do not know where they might get ticketed.

A trio of Republicans opposed the proposal.

State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said he voted “no” because it would permit a police officer to stop a driver who is using a hand-held cellphone “and that’s just too much government.”

“The bill is very well intentioned,” said state Rep. Michael Unes, R-East Peoria, who still voted against the measure because he is concerned individuals who cannot afford a hands-free device may still “have some very valid reasons” for needing to use a cellphone in a car.

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, said she opposed a similar measure sponsored by D’Amico last year and that she was still against it. She said it posed a hardship for the 8 percent of Illinoisans who must wear some kind of hearing device that makes it harder or more costly to rely on hands-free cellphones.

D’Amico said some hands-free alternatives, such as using a car’s radio as a phone’s speaker, “are no more expensive than a normal cellphone.”

The measure is House Bill 1247.

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(20) Comments

  1. CLG4
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    CLG4 - February 22, 2013 8:42 am
    Again this is just another example of politicians making a us- against them problem for the people of this state. If cell phone use is such a problem for safety of Illinois drivers then the politicians should put in place a requirement that no auto, used or new may be sold without Bluetooth installed. The viability of this option is none because to much tax money would be lost and some car dealers would go out of business. With what was proposed the politicians could say that they have our safety at heart without rocking the boat while adding another useless law to the books. Can't you just see how hard they are working for us.
  2. Lack Of Responsibility
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    Lack Of Responsibility - February 21, 2013 11:29 am
    People like you are what's wrong with this country.
  3. Clintonian
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    Clintonian - February 21, 2013 10:13 am
    Make another law for the sake of making new laws..what a nanny state, as soon as my kid's out of high school(2 years) .i'm out of here. i don't need all these laws for common sense.
  4. mcbzwyf
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    mcbzwyf - February 21, 2013 9:58 am
    So, drivers could still use their ear buds, or Bluetooth devices? Just not holding the phone and talking??
  5. horsesnake95
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    horsesnake95 - February 21, 2013 9:36 am
    i for ya bc. i smoke but my house doesnt smell like smoke, and my family never smells like smoke. but i dont smoke in my house and i dont smoke around them either. when you have non smokers who smell if smoke its because someone smokes in their house or while they are in a car with them.
  6. The Patriot
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    The Patriot - February 21, 2013 9:27 am
    Why don't folks just mind their own business! Right and wrong don't require laws. Progressives are a cancer to freedom!
  7. BC
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    BC - February 21, 2013 7:51 am
    If you live with a smoker you smell like smoke. They got that way before they got in the car. Their clothes came out of the closet/drawer smelling like smoke.
  8. catlbyer16
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    catlbyer16 - February 21, 2013 7:45 am
    FYI. If you have a wreck with me and I can prove that you were using any kind of hand held electronics at the time of the wreck, then I intend to own every thing you have now and anything you ever hope to of had.
  9. Report Abuse
    - February 21, 2013 7:31 am
    Just drive Veteran's Parkway any morning and you will see how well the current laws are working. I had a nephew killed at his rural mailbox when he was hit by a guy on his cell phone.I think horsesnake95 hit the problem exactly. Now the problem is who is going to enforce it. 50% of those during morning rush hour are on their phones. The police do not have enough time to go after them. Good Luck!
  10. cubbiefan
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    cubbiefan - February 21, 2013 7:16 am
    Are you serious? Very little smoke? My wife works at a school here in town and you would never guess how many k-5 kids come in smelling like smoke in the morning. I am a former smoker, even though I admit a cigar every once in awhile, and I never smoked in the car with the kids or in the house.

    I think these are 2 laws that are common sense and shouldn't take but 5 minutes to put into law.
  11. BC
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    BC - February 21, 2013 6:36 am
    If the window is cracked the smoke is being pulled out, very little of it is reaching any passenger. Cell phone use however poses a more real danger to those kids and everyone else on the road. Hands free devices are not that expensive, or just pull over if a call is that important. Next thing though when someone is pulled over the cops shouldn't stop to investigate. That one happened to us. Cop stopped and ran licenses and delayed us for over 10 minutes.
  12. Interested
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    Interested - February 21, 2013 5:46 am
    My son was critically injured in an accident and may walk with a limp the rest of his life because a driver was distracted (her admission) with a cell phone. Much overdue.
  13. wswsr
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    wswsr - February 20, 2013 10:58 pm
    How about concentrating on our chronic spending and put some effort toward meaningful cut in state spending
  14. clg4899
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    clg4899 - February 20, 2013 8:46 pm
    That's child abuse in my book. Pregnant women as well.
  15. clg4899
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    clg4899 - February 20, 2013 8:44 pm
    Their cars have Bluetooth, not handheld.
  16. franksmom
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    franksmom - February 20, 2013 8:17 pm
    "horsenake95", I'm with you.....I'm all for banning the use of any communication device by the driver of a moving vehicle; including those stopped at traffic lights or in traffic jams. If it's that important, pull off the road to the nearest parking lot or parking area. I remember when our homes had hand crank phones on the walls and a live operator connected your call to the party you were wanting to communicate with. Life was so much simpler back then......:>/
  17. areuserious
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    areuserious - February 20, 2013 7:43 pm
    and I bet the law makers don't ever talk on their phones in the car...YEAH RIGHT!!
  18. OMG
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    OMG - February 20, 2013 7:31 pm
    Another useless law if it gets passed. Not that I don't think that is a good idea. Truly if every law on the books was enforced that would be one thing but they aren't. It seems after the fact (car wreck) is when they do the enforcement. Oh they died not wearing a seat belt so lets ticket them. Oh everyone was killed in this car wreck because the driver was texting and talking on the phone. Let's ticket them.
  19. cubbiefan
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    cubbiefan - February 20, 2013 6:58 pm
    How about a law that makes just as must sense to me-No smoking in a car with children present. I dont know how many times I am driving down Veterans and see kids in car seats with the scumbag parent smokin away with the window cracked.
  20. horsesnake95
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    horsesnake95 - February 20, 2013 6:18 pm
    Really? Isn't it just common sense not to talk on the phone while driving. Maybe the law should just be no phone calls while driving period reguardless of whether or not a hands free device is used.
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