Police ticket 293 drivers on cellphones
BY KAREN BERKOWITZ firstname.lastname@example.org April 12, 2013 12:56PM
A new Illinois law effective Jan. 1 prohibits drivers from talking on cell phones, unless they use hands-free devices. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: May 14, 2013 6:11AM
Highland Park police reported that the joint crackdown on cellphone use by motorists between April 1 and April 5 resulted in hundreds of citations and warnings.
The Highland Park Police Department teamed up with four other communities with local bans on hand-held cellphone use while driving: Deerfield, Lake Forest, Winnetka and Waukegan. The campaign, police said, was intended to both educate motorists and enforce local ordinances.
According to police, the campaign resulted in 293 tickets and 219 warnings for alleged violations of the local bans on hand-held cellphone use while driving. In addition, 20 citations and one warning were issued for use of a cellphone in a school zone. Two motorists were ticketed under the state law that bans text-messaging while driving.
All five municipal ordinances restricting cellphone usage include exemptions for reporting police, fire and medical emergencies. State law already bans drivers from sending or reading text messages, but local municipalities have the right to completely prohibit using cellphones while driving.
Legislation is currently pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would ban use of handheld cellphones while driving on a statewide basis, with certain exceptions. Ten states outside of Illinois currently restrict usage of handheld cellphones, according to state Rep. John D’Amico, D-15th, of Chicago, the author of a bill that passed the Illinois House on a 64-46 vote in March.
Within Illinois, 76 communities in the state have local ordinances banning use of handheld cellphones while driving, D’Amico said.