News From Terre Haute, Indiana


January 1, 2014

EDITORIAL: Safety and cell phones

New Illinois law offers sensible approach to distracted driving

Illinois is not, generally speaking, the best example of statewide governing in our nation. Its fiscal problems are testament to that.

But let’s acknowledge that our neighbor to the west does a lot of things right in its everyday governmental machinations, and we point to the recently instituted cell phone law for drivers of motor vehicles as exhibit A.

As Tribune-Star reporter Howard Greninger explained in a story recently, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, motorists traveling in Illinois must use hands-free devices if talking on a cellular telephone while driving. Devices allowed include Bluetooth headsets, earpieces and voice-activated commands.

The purpose of the new law is obvious. It is a traffic safety measure aimed at reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers. While it goes farther than texting bans that previously existed in Illinois and currently exist in Indiana, it is not so intrusive that it eliminates the practice of using a cell phone while driving, which some advocate. It is an incremental step that, if enforced sensibly, can make traveling safer on roads and highways in Illinois.

We think Illinois is on the right track.

For it to work, however, education and enforcement are key. Time must be given for motorists to come to grips with the law. After that, police need to ticket violators.

The incentive to comply is strong. Motorists who do not use hands-free devices face a maximum fine of $75 for the first offense; $100 for the second offense; $125 for the third offense; and $150 for the fourth or subsequent offense.

What’s more, distracted drivers who injure others or cause fatal crashes from the use of a cell phone could face a class-A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents could be charged with a class-4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and up to three years in jail.

While Illinois residents have become quite aware of the new law, it’s important that Hoosiers who travel westward also understand its provisions and consequences.

Indiana officials should watch this closely and consider their own expanded law in the future.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court Swimmer Michael Phelps Attempts Comeback Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Pres. Obama Visits Japan's Imperial Palace Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
NDN Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010