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The next time you drive to Chicago…

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2013-10-31


Most of you know by now that it’s illegal to text and drive. Did you know in some areas that it’s against the law to drive and talk on your phone?

Last week, my wife called me on her way back from Chicago. A few minutes into our conversation, she told me that a police officer was pulling her over and that she had to go. She called me a few minutes later (after she was in Indiana) telling me it was against the law to talk on a cell phone and drive in Chicago.

I had no clue. I told her it must be a new law.

Well, wrong again.

My research team here at the Fort Wayne Reader advises that Chicago passed its cell phone ban way back in 2005. A person is fined $50 for a first offense and the price goes up from there.

Like most legislation, there are exceptions. A driver can speak on her phone if the call is a 911 emergency or if the vehicle is parked. Also, hands free cellular devices appear to be legal.

Illinois is following Chicago’s lead. Effective January 1, 2014, Illinois is banning the use of hand held cellular phones while driving. A violator will be fined $75 for a first offense. Any driver who receives three violations within one year will receive a license suspension.

Some experts contend that drivers talking on hand held phones are equally distracted as drivers talking on hands free devices. Many think the laws should prohibit drivers from engaging in any type of phone conversations, while opponents of such legislation believe that phones are no more distracting than listening to the radio or talking with other passengers.

Many towns, cities, states and countries have banned the practice of talking on your cell phone while driving — California, Washington and New Jersey, to name a few. Many countries including Australia, France, India, Kenya and Thailand have done the same. Japan banned the use of cell phones while driving over a decade ago. The laws in their various forms seem to make good sense. Who doesn’t want safer roads?

I would think Indiana might not be too far behind with a similar law.

So the next time you drive in Chicago (or Japan) remember to keep your hands off your phone.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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