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.
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.