SPRINGFIELD — A proposal to ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving a car was endorsed in a House committee Wednesday.

“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 law 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 she was still against it. She said it posed a hardship on 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.

(3) comments

MRM

Talking on your cell phone is a huge distraction because you can not be paying attention to what is going on around you. Have you ever been at a stop light or stop sign and the person in front of you is talking on their phone and holding up traffic when the light has changed or it is their turn to go at the stop sign and they sat there talking holding up everyone else. The real dumb people are the ones that talk on their hand held cell phone while driving endangering everyone else. I have been rear end by one of those people talking on their cell phone causing injury and time loss at work.

Constitutionalist

Once again Illinois is proving how dumb it is.

mommakelly
mommakelly

Why is this dumb? Please look at the facts...when you're driving and you're talking on your phone, your full attention is not on the road and those around you. This isn't a matter of the "gubmit taking away your Constitutional rights", this is a matter of people not being smart enough to stay off their phones while they drive. This doesn't just affect you, it affects those that are speeding around you at 65 miles an hour and their lives and safety.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.