I notice many people are still using their hand held cell phones for calling and texting while driving in the city. As you may know, Illinois is one of six states that allow localities to determine their own laws regarding cellular phone use while driving. Chicago is one of the cities that have chosen to enact hands free legislation and make driving while using a cellular device illegal.
As the year comes to an end, I caution you to adhere to some of the “Vehicular Phone Laws that went into effect in 2010. It’s about more than just getting a ticket; it is about getting into an accident. I bet you didn’t know that texting while driving is comparable to having 4 shots of tequila, and talking on the cell phone while driving is the same as having 2 shots, and, if you are in a heated conversation, you may as well have had a couple of beers with those shots because chances are you are not paying attention to your driving.
“A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.“
“Electronic message” includes, but is not limited to electronic mail, a text message, an instant message, or a command or request to access an Internet site.“
No Cell Phones in a School Zone Law aka Vehicular Phone Use in School Zones:
“A person, regardless of age, may not use a wireless telephone at any time while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway in a school speed zone”
The State of Illinois prohibits driving and cell-phone use by minors and by operators of school buses. Drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from using a cellular device or any type of hand-held communication device while operating a motor vehicle.
The driving law prohibits the use of a cell phone by a school bus driver while the bus is transporting children. If a school bus driver is caught using a cell-phone while driving children to or from school, the driver will face a fine up to $250.
Use of cell phones or other personal electronic devices by CTA employees:
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has issued new rules designed to prevent CTA drivers from being distracted by using cell phones or other personal electronic devices. Specifically, the CTA rules ban train conductors, operators, railroad maintenance workers and rail station customer assistance workers from using or carrying cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs), such as iPods, BlackBerry devices, Palm devices, other MP3 music players, wireless headsets or other devices. CTA workers who violate the new rules face a “zero tolerance policy, including suspensions and possible termination.
Drinking and driving is a no-no in Illinois and so is using a hand held cellular phone and texting. My parting advice is that no conversation is worth risking getting into an accident; pay attention to your driving and make the call when the car is in park.