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New Law Limits Cell Phone Use On Illinois Roads

Jenna Dooley

Starting in 2014, all Illinois drivers will have to go hands-free when using their cell phones. Previously, drivers could not use their cell phones in construction and school zones. The Illinois Secretary of State's office estimates 16,000 moving violation convictions since those rules went into effect in 2010. 

The new law means drivers can not hold their phones up to their ears on any Illinois roads. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Quinn Signs Statewide Cell Phone Driving Ban

Some local bans with similar rules were already in effect in some parts of the state. The law extends to all state roads.

Sycamore driver Tom Lenker doesn't think everyone will comply:

"I think it will be kind of hard to enforce knowing that people will just set their phone down when they see the cop anyway. I see people driving all the time with their hands on their phone and it drives me crazy," Lenker said.

Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) sponsored the measure. He says police will work to enforce the law.

"There's always going to people that break the law. People speed everyday. You can't stop every speeder. The bottom line is we've got to try to educate the public and let them know that this is the law and it is because of safety," D'Amico said.

Drivers can use their phones from the road if they are reporting an emergency.


$75 for a first offense

$100 for a second offense

$125 for a third offense

$150 for a fourth or subsequent offense

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.