Illinois may soon be the 12th state to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.
Illinois Senate approved HB 1247 by a 34-20 vote Thursday. The bill now
advances back to the House, which already approved it in March, but now
needs to sign off on an amendment added by the Senate.
amendment states that the first offense for driving while using a hand-held
cell phone is not a moving violation. First-time offenders face a $75 fine. If
approved, the law would go into effect January 1, 2014.
bill is about making roads safer,” said State Sen. John Mulroe
(D-Chicago), sponsor of the bill. “I’m concerned with people
dying on the roads.”
Texting and driving is already
prohibited in the state, and it is illegal for drivers younger than 18
to use a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle. Using a cell
phone while driving is also banned for truck and bus drivers, according
to federal law.
More than 70 communities in Illinois, including Chicago, already outlawed the use of hand-held devices while driving.
But State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) said the bill is “going too far.”
going to make a lot of criminals of individuals who are conscientious
drivers. We’re not addressing people eating in cars, reading newspapers
in cars, adjusting radios in cars,” he said.
responded by citing a 17 percent decrease of car accidents in Evanston
following the city’s ban on hand-held phone use while driving. He said
drivers distracted by communication devices are four times more likely
to cause a crash.