Last week, the Highland Park Police increased its signage and enforcement in the downtown business district to ensure drivers were not driving while holding their cell phones to their ears.
A year after the city instituted a law , Police Deputy Chief Dave Schwarz says the city is still seeking more compliance.
"It's very easy to just pick that phone up while you're driving," Schwarz told Patch. "We just urge people to please take that moment to pull into a parking lot or another safe location before you answer your phone."
In April, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for a federal law to ban talking on a cell phone or texting while driving any type of vehicle on any road in the country, according to Reuters:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3,000 fatal traffic accidents nationwide last year were the result of distracted driving. Using a cell phone while driving delays reaction time the same amount as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit, the highway agency said.
In Illinois, a law signed into effect by Gov. Pat Quinn earlier this month bans using a mobile device to take photos near an emergency scene, according to the Associated Press. He also signed a law that bans the use of handheld cell phones by commercial drivers and the use of cellphones by drivers in all roadwork zones. Both go into effect Jan. 1, according to AP.
Schwarz called the handheld cell phone ban in Highland Park a first step in combating distracted driving.
"The Transportation Saftey Administration came out and recommended a cell phone ban for the country," Schwarz said. "We might get more and more states that turn that way in the future."