Urbana, IL, proposed cell phone ban after bicyclist death

The News-Gazette reports:
Alderman Charlie Smyth says he will propose a ban on cell phone use by drivers in Urbana in the wake of the death last month of Matt Wilhelm, who was hit on a bicycle by a driver using her cell phone.
Driving while talking, by fgt: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fgt/124371317/in/pool-idiots/

Smyth said after the accident – and two other local fatalities that involved cell phones – it is time for local government to take action. The ordinance also would apply to two-way pagers and computers.

"To me, driving with a cell phone or other interactive technology is just like driving impaired," he said. "The studies show you might as well be drunk. We don't allow drunk drivers on the road. The legal consequences for driving while using cell phone and similar technology should be the same."

Smyth said he has submitted his proposal to the city's newly formed Bicyclist and Pedestrian Advisory Commission for a recommendation, after which it will come to the city council. . . .

Smyth is not proposing to allow hands-free cell phones, as in Chicago, where drivers are otherwise banned from cell phone use.

"The studies show that it doesn't make a difference; you're still impaired," he said.

Smyth said one reason he is proposing the ordinance is because he is troubled by three deaths that have involved cell phones locally in the past year.
The danger of driving while cell phoning has led MoBikeFed to place this issue on our legislative agenda as well. However there seems little support for this idea in Missouri so far.

[Thanks to Kerry for the link.]