Four years ago a taskforce led by Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, unsuccessfully tried to persuade lawmakers to create broad restrictions on distracted driving. The state only banned texting while driving, and placed some limits on cell phone use, banning them in construction and school zones. Municipalities like Plainfield and Highland Park passed their own ordinances instructing law enforcement to ticket drivers for inattentive actions while driving ranging from using electronic communication devices to eating or attending to personal grooming.
Following last year’s report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which reported that 11% of the over 30,000 fatal auto accidents were the direct result of distracted driving, the Illinois House has passed a bill which would outlaw the use of cell phones and hand-held digital assistants while driving in the State of Illinois. If the Senate approves the bill, Illinois would become the 10th state to outlaw hand-held electronic communication devices while driving. The bill as currently written would not outlaw the use of hands-free devices while driving though recent research suggests that any distraction while driving can be fatal.