New Chicago Law Makes Illegal Holding a Cell Phone While Driving

A brand new law in Chicago makes it illegal to hold and use a cell phone while driving. The new law permits drivers to use headsets and other hands-free devices, but bans driving while holding a cell phone in your hand. Good for them!

While the law generally requires the use of hands-free devices unless the car is parked, an exception is made for 911 calls.

Fine start at $50.00 per offense, and go up to $200.00 if the offending call occurs during an accident.

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Now, what makes these relatively new laws against cell phone use while driving interesting is whether, as written, they cover things such as watching television on your cell phone while driving, or using your cell phone as a modem with your laptop while in a moving car. After all, that doesn’t require you to hold it in your hand, and believe me when I tell you, people are already doing it.


The new Chicago law takes effect on July 8th.

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14 Replies to “New Chicago Law Makes Illegal Holding a Cell Phone While Driving”

  1. OK, this law has been on the books for how long now? Yet yesterday (12/19/07) they announced a civil action suit against the city for not informing people.

    Since when is ignorance of the law an excuse to sue?!?!?!??

  2. I believe that this law should be taken lightly if the driver is more experienced behind the wheel and can concentrate more on the task at hand then their simple phones, such as someone who is 25 or older. Many people can think that they are a good driver after only one year behind the wheel because they passed Driver’s Education! Many drivers between the ages of 25-45 are disgusted at the sight of cell phone-wielding drivers that don’t even pay attention to the pedestrians walking on the street that are given the Right-of-way! I have almost been hit walking home many times by a younger driver, carelessly driving through an intersection without looking to see where they are driving and what might be in their way. My Belief is that people over the age of 25 should be able to either know enough not to be too distracted by cell phones, but for the younger drivers, they should have this law majorly enforced due to safety on the road! I WILL NOT BE SILENCED!!!! good day!

  3. Silly. then they need to outlaw eating in the car too. i didn’t even know that was the law here and I talk on the phone while driving all the time.

  4. for the record, it is not about physically holding the phone in one’s hand. Cell phone’s relevance to driving is in the structure of human attention. By talking and driving at the same time the brain unconciously ‘cheats’ one of the tasks out of having full attention paid to it, and in most cases it is the driving that suffers. not the conversation.

  5. i simply want to know if cell phones are illegal while driving in my state and city…las vegas nv…or who to ask to find out…

  6. Ok, what’s next? Should it be illegal to hold a Coke in one hand while driving and talking to someone in the passenger seat at the same time? It’s the same as talking on a hand held cell phone. Perhaps the real problem is that we allow people to drive that should not be allowed to.

  7. We have had a similar law in NYS for quite some time. Most drivers are still holding their phones while driving, but what is even worse than that is some drivers that do stop to answer the phone when it rings are stopping the car wherever they are at the time with no regards to where they are stopping. They stop in the middle of the road, around blind curves and hills. I think that this has actually created a more dangerous problem.

  8. We have that law in Santa Fe, NM as well. And they are VERY stringent about watching and ticketing. I think it is a very good thing…other areas of NM are considering adding this law to their books.

  9. Re. Martyn`s comment. I would agree. I drive for a living in the UK and, although I need a phone in my job, I have NEVER hand-held one in a vehicle. It`s been a bee in my bonnet ever since I was nearly taken out by a truck hurtling onto a roundabout that I was negotiating. The driver, on the phone, was quite oblivious to my presence without one iota of real concentration on his driving. I don`t understand why people do do it. Even simple earpices with an in-line mic. are just a few pounds and I`m sure some people consider it sissy to use them! I think there should be huge penalties for the crime, even more where there the act causes an accident.

  10. There is currently a campaign here in Washington to get a similar law passed, as there is in many other states. As a former Driver Education teacher, I’m all for removing any distractions that make vehicle operation less safe. However, I believe that outlawing the use of the driver’s hands to hold a cellular telephone, but allowing one to be used with an ear attachment is misguided, and will have little effect of the accidents rate due to distracted drivers.

    The part of the brain used for conducting conversations is also the part used to operate motor vehicles. The problem isn’t that phone-using drivers have only one hand on the steering wheel, which admittedly is unsafe, it’s that their brain capacity is diminished by their attempt to talk and drive at the same time. That’s why good drivers pull over and park if there is a need to use a telephone while in a vehicle.

    It took a long time for state legislatures to realize drunk drivers needed to be treated harshly in order to get their attention. That same understanding will eventually come vis-a-vis cellular telephones. It’s my fervent hope that, in the meantime, a distracted driver doesn’t kill me and mine.

  11. WE have the same law here in NY as well. I’ve never known anyone to get stopped for using their Cell phone without a head set. I see people all the time holding their phones up to their ears while driving, and whats even funnier is when I see the police doing the exact same thing. I think its a good law for most people, but I also think that it isn’t talkingon the phone thats to danferous, its when people either want to answer, or make a call thats distracting.

  12. This has been the law in the UK now for about a year – although I still frequently see people driving while holding and using a mobile

  13. We’ve had similar laws in Australia for years, they are quite widely enforced, and yet stupid people are still doing it!

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