Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago's cell phone ban

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Chicago Police wrote roughly 13,400 tickets last year to people caught talking on a handheld cell phone while driving--not many when you consider parking citations number in the hundreds of thousands each year.

Do you think police should step up their enforcement of the ban, or would that be a waste of police time and resources?

In the two years since the cell phone ban was passed, has it changed your driving behavior at all, or is it just a nuisance?

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24 Comments

Since a cell phone can be used to trigger an IED; Why haven't they been banned from use in this country? It has also been proved that they are responsible for drawing a drivers attention away from driving. Perhaps the only saving grace that they have is that politicians can use the vibrate feature and keep then in their pants pocket. I'm sure these hard working crooks...er elected officials need a bit of joy in their singularly focused lives.

"was in an accident last year where the person behind me was on her cell phone and didn't even see the oncoming car of which I stopped for and she just plowed right into my rear. There are one too many accidents like mine that could of been avoided if both hand were on the wheel and watching what was going on ahead of them."
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Ear buds are not the answer.
Two hands on the wheel isn't the answer.

The answer is attention to your driving.

Carrying on a conversation on a cellphone, while driving, whether you're holding the phone in your hand or not, is incredibly distracting. You are, during a call, NOT paying attention to your driving. THAT is the problem with cellphones and driving.

Banning cell phones no, but banning hand-held cell phones YES. I personally believe hand-held cell phones should be outlawed; just way too many accidents occur when people are on the phone just talking, talking, talking and really not saying anything important at all. It should be made mandatory throughout the state of Illinois that those who wish to use cell phones should have the ear phones, this way one has control of the car... with both hands on the wheel. There are just too many accidents or accidents created by those using the hand held cell phones.

I was in an accident last year where the person behind me was on her cell phone and didn't even see the oncoming car of which I stopped for and she just plowed right into my rear. There are one too many accidents like mine that could of been avoided if both hand were on the wheel and watching what was going on ahead of them.

To answer your question, tickets are $50, and $200 if the driver is involved in a crash while on their cell phone.

does anyone know how much a ticket costs for violating the cell phone law?

may be need to policing irresponsible parents -- lets grill them rather than keep cracking on criminals -- here factory is polluted that stream coming out of it.

Yes they should enforce it, but like one poster said, it is stupid that they only enforce laws on the North side of town. On 79th street, no one is towed from a tow zone, everyone talks on cell phones while driving; cops, bus drivers, school teachers, drive-by shooters. you know, everyone. The truth is, the only thing you should be doing while you are driving, is driving.

But oddly, there are only black and latino people in traffic court.

This ban needs to be state wide. Driving while talking on your cellphone is dangerous and unnecessary. No one is that important that you need to be yammering on your cell at 6:00 am.

I think police should spend more time preventing murders, rapes, robberies and other crime. I do approve of cell phone bans and sometimes the way to get people to stop doing something is through fines, so do not see enforcing the ban a total waste of resources.

I have had one too many people talking on cell phones, swerve into my lane or sail past a red stop light almost causing accidents. I have also seen the shocked look on drivers' faces as they suddenly realize they were about to run me over as I crossed the street. Vehicles are lethal weapons if operatered improperly; if people would use common sense when driving we would not need bans such as this one.

"To be clear, the law allows them to, but there's a legitimate argument to be made for officers following the rules they enforce."

Just what is that legitimate argument?
Why should a cop, DRIVING, be on a cellphone?

Other than the fraternal order of police union thinks they're better than everyone else?

What reason could there be?

Just another class-based law, just like if you're a pregnant women with a flat tire that gets hit by a car while you're on the shoulder vs. if you're a road worker on the shoulder who's very familiar with the situation and the idiots driving (on their cellphones). Road worker class: jail time and triple fines, pregnant womam: lower class citizen.

How about some class-based laws that go the other way? Union worker hits someone, or gets a DUI, they get triple penaties?

Since the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois are having budget problems --why not enforce the law -- drivers either purchase and utilize the hands free devices or get a ticket -- it's simple.

A couple of you have mentioned that you see police officers on cell phones, too. To be clear, the law allows them to, but there's a legitimate argument to be made for officers following the rules they enforce.

After reading your artical on the usage of cell phones in the Chicago Area I can say that I have seen Chicago Police Officers also using cell phones in traffic and on the phone while driving. If Chicago Police are going to inforce a ban they also need to adhere to the ban.


Banning Cell Phone usage, without taking in consideration all other activities that take place when driving was the wrong measure. Police officers' time cannot be used for that type of non-sense. Police Officer's time should be directed to fighting crime, solving criminal cases, and some time to learn how to deal with the frustration of life, to offer the public what they are supposed to offer. Serve and protect. When was the last time a police officer stopped and took you home, if you were disoriented, lost or simply drunk? Our society need to be re-examined. Banning cell phone ussage is riduculuous. A ban needs to incude reading, text messaging, eating, driking coffee, milk, orange juice, water, beer?, it needs to include a ban for sexual activities, affective activities, hugging, kissing, holding hands, touching legs, other important and sensitive parts, and in the end, Who are they to ban all these activities? Gods? and even if they ban them, who is going to control every million car that passes you at 75 miles per hour. Come on guys, lets be intelligent, and let's act responsible. Let's care for each other. That is the answer. It will never happen, no matter how many laws, ordinances and kingdom mandates, unless we decide to be better people, concerned about our peers. Concerned about ourselves. When was the last time someone did something nice for you for no other reason other than been good? Those times are gone and need to come back. Forget Al Gore too, if we are to survive these are the ingredients: Cooperation, Care for others, love each other, and treat others as we would like to be treated.


I think the police should be more agressive with the enforcement of cell phone usage while driving, But that may be hard to do if the police are on their cell phone while they are patrolling their beats. Look around the city and you will see numerous police officers on their cell phones while they are working and I don't mean the passenger officer, the driver seems to be haveing a decent conversation.

How can the police - CPD - step up enforcement when they do the same thing!? Take a closer look Ms. Thomas, you will notice CTA Bus drivers while driving the Bus!, Truck Drivers - Commerical Vehicles - and YES, even the Ambulance Personnel talking on hand held cell phones!

Leave the North side if that is where you live or downtown area, and travel to the other areas of the city, and simply observe. Matter of fact stand at any corner on State Street or Michigan Ave. and monitor the behavior of ALL drivers using hand held cell phones.

No one has stopped this behavior!

The ban has made zero difference because it's not enforced. Almost every day, as a pedestrian, I'm nearly hit by a driver on a hand-held cell. People may claim they're still aware but I think that's bogus. At best, I think they're looking out for cross-traffic but not pedestrians. Just the other day, I nearly saw a driver hit a stroller, speeding into a turn while holding a cell to her ear.

If the City would like to actually write a ticket, I suggest they simply place a traffic officer at the corner of Wacker and Wells at 5:00 p.m. Crossing the street can be hazardous for all the cars anxious to make their right turn onto Wacker - nearly all are on a hand-held cell.

I really do not understand why police don't enforce it. It would be a great source of income for the city and make the streets much safer for everyone. Why did the Council bother to pass it if it wasn't going to be enforced? Was it passed just to be a city that looked good on paper? I can easily count 20 people per day on their cell phone while driving when I'm out walking. I would love to see what some anonymous police have to say. Is it just too much of a hassle for them?

I think the police should worry more about stopping the murders that happen every single day, rather than wasting their time enforcing a stupid Nanny-State Law!

Definitely step up the enforcement. Too many very avoidable accidents are caused by multitasking morons yammering on cellphones. Strict enforcement, as done in Europe, would make more people hang up and drive right.

I was pulled over for using my cel phone and paid the $55. I wish the photographer had taken a photo of a cop using his/her cel phone. I always want to take a photo whenever I see them "breaking the law" (which is often) but I chicken out. If the ban is lifted can I get my money back please?

They should step it up.

Can't they automate it? They can track cell phones with GPS now can't they? Why not send a ticket to the billing address of any cellphone moving in Chicago? Or, if they want to hang cameras from every lightpole, let them recoup some of the cost of those cameras by looking for cellphone drivers too.

Trouble is, I see cops, driving, with handheld cellphones at their ears. Until the enforcers understand the message, the public won't.

This ban is a waste of police officers time. I am all for the banning of all cell phone use in a moving automobile. The federal government should require automakers to utilize and install already available technology to block the use of a cell phone while the auto is moving. Unless the phone system is built into the car and does not require a handset or a blue tooth system. People are not paying attention to what they are doing when they are on the cell phone. They blow through red lights without even turning their heads. They are running over pedestrians, hitting motorcycles, etc. Its time to stop the carnage.

Please step up enforcement of the cell phone ban!!

A recent survey revealed that over one in ten drivers was using a hand held cell phone. Other studies repeatedly concur that driving while using a cell phone is as detrimental as driving drunk.

For all of you who agree that cell phones and driving are a bad mix in general, but that you are a safe, attentive driver when you use your phone -- get real. I have had many near collisions as both a pedestrian and bicyclist where the offending drivers were so engrossed in their conversations that they didn't even see/realize/acknowledge that nearly hit someone. Their awareness of their surrounding is so poor that it shields them from the reality of how poor their driving is. Of course they think they are safe drivers -- they can't see how reckless they are.

Please enforce this ban and get the cell phone zombies off our streets!

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on August 13, 2007 8:00 AM.

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