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Illinois eying cellphone restriction

March 9, 2012 at 8:44 AM

CHICAGO, March 9 (UPI) -- Motorists in Illinois may soon be breaking the law if they're spotted holding a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle, a legislator said.

State Rep. John D'Amico of Chicago said the time has come to get serious about making the roads in Illinois as safe as possible, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday.

D'Amico is the chief sponsor of legislation that passed the Illinois House 62-53 to permit cellphone use while driving only if it is hands-free or used with a headset.

If the Senate passes his bill, fines for breaking the hands-free law would start at $75 for a first offense and increase to $150 for repeat offenses.

Those penalties are stiffer in Chicago where motorists are already prohibited from holding a cellphone while driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board has advocated a crackdown following a series of deadly accidents attributed to cellphone use.

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