Abels & Annes

Hand-held cell phone use now illegal in Evanston while driving

As of Monday, it is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in Evanston.

The Chicago Breaking News Center reported that Evanston Police will be warning motorists of the new ordinance by conducting educational enforcement actions next week.

Evanston Now reports that this let-you-off-with-a-warning period will last through next week but will not apply to drivers involved in reckless or negligent behavior or those involved in traffic accidents.

Cell-phone use by drivers has been illegal within the city limits of Chicago since 2005 as authorities seek to reduce Chicago car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

The Evanston ordinance also bans test messaging, sending, reading or listening to an electronic message or browsing the internet while driving.

As reported earlier this month on Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, the federal government is pushing all states to ban text messaging while driving. Illinois’ ban took effect Jan. 1 and also prohibits using hand-held cell phones in school zones and construction sites.

Evanston’s law exempts “any person using a mobile telephone or on-board communications device for non-personal use in the course of ordinary business in their employment with a City, State or Federal agency or authority” and also permits the use of a cell phone to call 911 while driving.

The ordinance permits cell-phone use in conjunction with a hands-free device.

Penalty for violating the law is a $50 fine; a maximum fine of $200 can be issued to motorists involved in an accident while using a cell phone.