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Do You Talk On Your Cell Phone While Driving?

A year after Highland Park's hands-free cell phone law went into effect, have your driving habits changed?

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."

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Longtime HP Resident July 31, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I agree with Jennie - I see people on the phone EVERY TIME I am in the car. They are either talking or texting. If the police would ticket more than 22% PERCHANCE people may change their way. I am afraid that too many people complain and the police often bow in to the complaints. I have seen it first hand.
Gordon Kenmuir July 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM
So whilst i don't disagree with the ban on cell phones per se, I guess I just wonder at all the other causes, that we choose to ignore. Cell phone bans are really just a populist reaction to a current trend. What about the people who smoke, is it really any safer to have to remove both hands to open a pack of cigarettes, pull one out, grab a live flame, either lighter or worse matches, then hold it to the cigarette, whilst watching the tip not the road, to ensure you don't burn your face, etc, etc. The general distracted driver statutes cover that situation, so why do we specifically need one to cover cell phones. What about truckers on CBs, what about police drivers on their radios when they are in the car alone. <y main point is here that we have a law, a number of them, that cover distracted driving, cell phone banning is just a knee jerk reaction to a populist view, so common in a country where EVERY person in some position of power is worried about their next election, their next campaign!
Steve Firestone August 01, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Hey Gordon, I know one cause they ignore. Big lit signs saying that cell phone use is prohibited. In other words, they distract us in the name of reigning in distracted driving. If you look at the studies, outside distractions are more dangerous than the ones inside the car.
MM August 02, 2012 at 01:45 AM
I'm thrilled that the police are going to actually enforce this law. I see people every day rolling through stop signs, gabbing away on their hand-held phones. We even see people at school drop-off gabbing away while dropping off their kids. I hope the police are liberal with their tickets, and I hope the city's coffers are filled by the violators!
Steve Firestone August 03, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Hey MM, do you eat in your car? Do you tune in the radio? Do you program your GPS? Do you talk to your passengers? We actually have distracted driving laws already. There's no reason to try and make a law for everything that distracts us. As I said before, there are many distractions outside the car, and many of them are more distracting than any inside the car. It's easy to go along with a fad and get mad at people. After all, you don't do THAT so let's get mad at them. But, there are usually plenty of things we do while driving that are dangerous. And I could say "I hope the police are liberal with their distracted driving tickets, and I hope the city's coffers are filled by the violators." Remember, that could be YOU.

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