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Chicago puts brakes on drivers who use handheld cell phones

November 22, 2010

Motorists in Chicago face fines of $50 to $200 if they are caught talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, under a city ordinance that took effect July 8. Such use is permitted only if the vehicle is parked or if the driver is placing a 911 emergency call. Cell phone use with a headset is permitted.


The hand-held ban came the same day a poll was released that showed one-third of American motorists say cell phone use by fellow drivers is their main annoyance on the road—and a habit that four out of 10 admit they engage in themselves.


Thirty-one states have no restrictions on driving and cell phone use, although five states are debating the matter. Seventeen states have partial cell phone restrictions, mostly against school bus drivers.


New Jersey and New York have statewide bans on cell phone use by drivers, and the practice is illegal in several cities across the country. The New York restriction is the oldest, dating to 2001.