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Deerfield Board of Trustees Approves Handheld Cell Phone Ban

The ordinance against talking and driving goes into effect Nov. 1

Starting next month you could be pulled over for talking on a handheld cell phone while driving in Deerfield due to a new ban going into effect Nov. 1.

Earlier:

The Deerfield Board of Trustees unanimously approved the ordinance at Monday’s meeting. Police will begin by issuing warnings and will move on to issuing tickets for $50 to $500. Signs will be placed throughout the village notifying drivers of the law.

“We're going to do as much education as we possibly can,” said Mayor Harriet Rosenthal.

Deerfield resident Robert Klein was the only one to raise an objection to the ordinance at Monday’s meeting. Klein said his job as a labor law attorney at Highland Park’s Klein Dub & Holleb, Ltd. requires him to drive throughout Illinois to see clients. While he said he agrees that distracted driving is a problem, he said he doesn’t like the idea of having to keep track of different rules in each community he drives through.

“I see all kinds of distracting behavior in cars, everything from people talking to their children in the back seat, to eating French fries to literally reading,” he said. “I think that it's a great idea to ban cell phone use, unless it’s hands free, but I think it's inadvisable for any community to do it because we'd just have too many different rules.”

Rosenthal said that she would like to see a statewide ban on drivers using handheld cell phones and has offered Deerfield’s support to State Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood) as she attempts to reintroduce legislation on the issue. Trustee Barbara Struthers noted that Deerfield has a history of implementing rules that have later become state law, including banning smoking in restaurants.

Klein said having different policies in different communities would create “utter chaos.”

“I certainly don't know when I'm entering one suburb and leaving another suburb,” he said.

Rosenthal countered that the worst thing community-based bans could do is encourage drivers to avoid using handheld cell phones altogether. Similar bans have already been implements in Highland Park, Glencoe, Winnetka, Evanston and Chicago.

Lee October 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM
I did read about 3 years ago that the distraction is the conversation, not the holding of the phone. Talking into the air is even more distracting (according to this study) because the talker is imagining the person to whom they're talking. With a physical phone in hand this distraction is less. Many people "on speaker" are still holding the phone, just not up to their ear. Also, having something in the ear such as a Bluetooth or headphones can drown out a siren. How is this porposed law any better?
Ed Collins October 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Good progressive move taken by the Village Board - and yes, it should be a uniform statewide policy. Ed & Dorothy Collins
Tim Froehlig October 24, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I personally think that too many people forget that a car is capable of being a several ton weapon at a moment's notice every single time we drive. Conduct all the studies you want, but I personally see how dangerous and disrtracting driving while holding a phone is on a daily basis from those driving around me. Just my opinion. I agree with you Ed. I also think texting while driving, which is see way too much of also, if even more dangerous to put it mildly. I'd love to hear the opinions people throughout the community have about this topic. Feel free to share, or if you would like to send it as a letter to the editor of have a firsthand experience that has affected you because of someone using a cellphone and driving, let me know! Thanks!
Tim Froehlig October 24, 2011 at 04:30 PM
I personally think that too many people forget that a car is capable of being a several ton weapon at a moment's notice every single time we drive. Conduct all the studies you want, but I personally see how dangerous and distracting driving while holding a phone is on a daily basis from those driving around me. Just my opinion. I agree with you Ed. I also think texting while driving, which is see way too much of also, if even more dangerous to put it mildly. I'd love to hear the opinions people throughout the community have about this topic. Feel free to share, or if you would like to send it as a letter to the editor of have a firsthand experience that has affected you because of someone using a cellphone and driving, let me know! Thanks!

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