Governor Pat Quinn finally signed an Illinois Cell Phone Ban into law on Friday. Quite frankly this is a common sense law which should have been enacted at the same time when texting while driving was outlawed. Now will it stop the thousands of morons I have seen the past few months while on the road? Probably not - but at least they will now have to pay if they are caught.
And given the blatant abuse I have seen (even while driving on the highway) it won't be very hard for law enforcement to spot many of them. Too bad the law doesn't include confiscation but at least the fine schedule is about right; $75 for the first offense and as much as $150 for repeat offenders as well as having their driving record dinged with a moving violation. And that could add hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to annual insurance premiums for those who endanger our lives daily.
When it comes to the more serious offenders: those who are charged with being "distracted drivers" (defined as causing harm to others), well they won't have to worry about a simple moving violation. Instead they will be hit with a Class A misdemeanor with fines up to $2,500 and jail time of less than one year. Meanwhile, those drivers who are not only distracted but are involved in an accident where there are fatalities - they will be charged with a Class 4 felony and fines of up to $25,000 and three years in jail.
To be clear here though - this new Illinois Law will NOT be a total ban as hands-free use is permitted via hands free devices such as Bluetooth Technology. And there are plenty of such devices available and in all price ranges. To be honest these devices are so cheap today that it is anyone's guess why they aren't more in use than they are. Many newer vehicles today also come equipped with Bluetooth Technology and allow for enjoyable, yet safe conversation. Not only that because if your cellphone has a voice option (which is pretty standard these days) one can even respond to their text messages via voice.
So with all that technology available why in the world are people not using it? Even older vehicles can be retrofit with a variety of car audio systems that have advanced functions built in. For instance, my son and I installed a Sony Car Audio System with Bluetooth in the older vehicle he drives for a minimal amount of money. And yes these even include jacks for your MP3 and/or IPods in addition to USB ports for Flash Drives filled with your favorite driving tunes.
So there is absolutely no excuse to persist in dangerous driving with these ridiculous low-priced quality products out there. I mean is it really worth risking your, your family's or a stranger's life because you have a cellphone stuck to your ear while driving? I would think this is a no-brainer. So given that IQ isn't an impediment - just do the right thing already.
I can't tell you how many times a car has blown through a three-way, four-way and or traffic control light intersection and nearly hit people in front of me and/or even my own vehicle. And when you beep your horn to warn these prize tools they flip you off as if you were the one breaking the law or nearly killed someone. But I say this to them: if I can safely get your vehicle's driver tag number not only will I report you to the police - but I'll sign the complaint and see you in court later. And if they hit my car and there are serious injuries? Well let's just say that there will be some financial repercussions coming their way.
So while I understand this terrible phenomenon about society having a problem when it comes to giving others respect today - that doesn't mean it isn't wrong. I don't know maybe it is this asinine "me - me" thing that has consumed so many people but again that is no excuse to think common courtesy and respect isn't necessary anymore. Even bullying seems to be spiraling out of control and is at an all-time high. And it isn't just among school children as we recently learned about some very callous and cruel government employees in Wheaton.
So Governor Quinn even though this important measure has taken far too long to be signed into law kudos are in order! There are many of us law-abiding people out there who are more than grateful that beginning January 1, 2014 innocent victims of distracted drivers will be punished.
Tags: Bluetooth Technology, Bullying, Chicago Political Commentary, Distracted Drivers, Headline News, Illinois, Illinois Cell Phone Ban, Illinois Driving Laws, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Signs Cell Phone Ban, Laws, Op Ed, Politics, Sony Car Audio System with Bluetooth, Wheaton Illinois Bullying