IL considers bills restricting distracted driving, cell phone use while driving

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:
Illinois legislators aren't quite ready to mandate that citizens "hang up and drive," as the popular bumper sticker suggests, but they are considering several bills that would put restrictions on cell phone use or increase punishment for drivers whose phone use results in fatalities.

Studies show that 85 percent of people who own a cell phone and hold a drivers license use that cell phone while driving, which quadruples their risk of being involved in an accident.

A 2002 study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated the annual death toll from cell phone-related crashes at 2,600. However, many states do not track whether a cell phone contributed to a collision or fatality, making any national estimate uncertain.

The Illinois House is considering bills that would prohibit drivers from using a hand-held cell phone, criminalize negligent driving (which could include talking on a cell phone) that results in death, and create a task force that would make recommendations to curtail distracted driving.

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