Lots of new laws to comply with in 2014. But in the Quad-Cities, none will be tougher than Illinois’ new cell phone ban for drivers.

Both Iowa and Illinois banned texting for all and added further restrictions for teens. But this year, Illinois police can pull over any driver holding a phone and the steering wheel at the same time.

By our count one recent rush hour, that could be at least a fourth of all drivers.

No one should be chatting, texting, tweeting or engaging in any distraction while driving. But we believe the Illinois law goes too far when it penalizes one distracting behavior while ignoring almost others. Eating and personal grooming come to mind.

Plenty of laws exist for police to stop drivers who weave, ignore traffic signals or speed limits, all of which can be consequences of distracted drivers. Illinois’ new law is aimed squarely at those with lower-cost phones and cars. Those with Bluetooth, or vehicle-equipped systems face no risk of tickets.

For everyone else, Illinois’ new law will require some tough behavioral changes, further complicated because they apply to roughly half of our metro area. Will chatty Q-C drivers hang up while crossing a bridge?

The solution, of course, is to silence that cell phone and put it out of reach while behind the wheel. Check texts and make calls before the car is in gear. Then stow the phone and ignore its buzzes and beeps until you’re parked.

Easier written than done, we know, but sound advice, even if Illinois had no such law. But it does. And state police say there will be no grace period. They’ve added illegal phone use to the list of observed offenses that can merit a traffic stop. And they say they’ll write the $75 tickets immediately.

No talking your way out of this ticket. Your phone’s records will rat you out.

So even as we oppose this selective crackdown on this one driving distraction in just one of our two states, we eagerly encourage all drivers in either state to drop the distractions – phones, hamburgers or hairbrushes – and focus on the roadway.

The consequences as we’ve reported too many times can be far worse than a $75 ticket.

(6) comments

ttdad

Motorola makes a nice hand free unit you can buy at Amazon for $65. Or get it at Best Buy for $95 if you need it immediately.

longjohn412

This should have happened 20 years ago ..... before it became nearly everyone's Bad Habit ...

Every cell phone has GPS in it no matter the cost and has for a number of years now. It costs a lot more to add GPS (Especially years ago when they started) than it does to implement Bluetooth which can be built into the same radio transceiver chip for WiFi which operates at the same frequency

senor citizen

The stupid will always find a new and novel way to kill themselves and others. The laws will never stop that, I find it sad when the stupid take the others out though. I rather see Darwin hard at work.

Contemptio

http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/31/40000-new-laws-take-effect-in-2014/

40,000 new laws take effect in 2014

(CNN) - It may have been the least productive year for Congress in history, at least in terms of passing laws – fewer than 60 of which made it through the House and Senate and were signed by President Barack Obama.

Across the country, however, state lawmakers were busy getting more than 40,000 bills passed, ones that tackle everything from drones to food stamp benefits.

In Illinois for example, teenagers will no longer get to use tanning beds without a doctor's note. If you live in Delaware, visit the shark fin buffet while you can, a new law will make it illegal to own, sale, or distribute the controversial delicacy. And in California, new laws take effect that will let students take part in school sports, or use bathrooms based on their gender identity, regardless of the gender noted in their birth certificates.

Legendary attorney, Harvard law professor, and author of "Taking the Stand" Alan Dershowitz joins "The Lead" to discuss some of the other fascinating – and controversial – new laws of 2014.

Klaatu
Klaatu

So I won't have to worry about the crazy women in their monster SUV's, bearing down on me with a cigarette, cell phone and bottled water and driving with her knees? Passing a law isn't going to fix being stupid and distracted. I have been driving and using a cell phone (as necessary, not incessantly) since the beginning of the cell phone era. I have been driving for over forty years without a single at fault accident. You cannot legislate common sense and competency. They will still have their fast food and kids in the back seat to distract them.

longjohn412

Anyone can find a hands-free Bluetooth system for less than the $75 fine ..... There is really no good excuse not to have and use one nor at a production cost of under a buck no reason not to have it in every cellphone ... Bluetooth costs have dropped dramatically as tablet computers have spread (Economy of scale) which makes this the opportune time for these laws ......

Politicians seldom get the timing right, perhaps we should be thankful they did this time because it probably won't happen again for awhile .....

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