Bond - shaken, not stirred
December 31, 2013
Did someone shake Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond, when they should have stirred her?
In today's l-o-n-g article about the new Illinois statewide hands-free cell phone law that goes into effect at midnight, local Northwest Herald reporter Joe Bustos attributes this remark to Bond: "hands must be on the wheel and the cellphone has to be in a secured area where it's not distracting the driver."
Welcome to the Nanny State.
Where did that restriction come from? Has anyone else ever heard that?
There has been widespread publicity (well, maybe not "widespread") about the new law. You don't want to get caught having a conversation when you are holding your phone to your ear or, as people do with those annoying direct-talk phones, out in front of your mouth.What about the visitors to Illinois who cross the state line at midnight, who don't know about this law? Are there signs on all roads leading into Illinois?
This article was the first time I had heard of or read the bit about "the cellphone has to be in a secured area where it's not distracting the driver." The new law can be read at 625 ILCS 5/12-610.1; just go to www.ilga.gov and click on Illinois Compiled Statutes. Then search down. It takes a little getting used to, but eventually you'll find it.
So, if Bond is right, having your cell phone in your lap, on the dashboard or on the seat next to you could cost you.
I have a friend in Chicago who got zinged $100 for just answering her phone and saying, "I'll put you on speakerphone, Mom." A Chicago cop happened to be stopped next to her and wrote her a ticket.
Read the law carefully. Taking a picture or video with your phone could land you in hot water, because the device is covered in the definition of "electronic message". Electronic message includes "a digital photograph".
Got a GPS that is stuck to your windshield with a suction-cup holder? Trying to program that or maybe even looking at it could land you on the wrong end of a ticket. Will a cop eager to satisfy his quota early in the month cite you, if he sees that your GPS is on? Why? He (or she) might decide that your windshield-mounted GPS is not "physically or electronically integrated" into your motor vehicle?
"But it's plugged into the power source," you may claim.
"Tell it to the judge" might be his reply. If you are on the losing end of the traffic court case, it'll cost you about $300 ($75 + $225 court costs), not just the $75 for the violation. Are you a gambler? The cop knows you're not.
If you are the driver, when can you use your handheld cellphone? When you are parked on the shoulder (now there's a life-threatening location, if you are on a Chicagoland interstate highway). Or if you are "...stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed..." and your vehicle is in Neutral or Park. What does "obstructed" mean? I'll bet it does not mean sitting at a red light.
This law does not apply to a driver using a two-way or citizen's band radio or the amateur radio network. OK, good buddy; you're safe. That's a big 10-4. What legislator slipped that nonsense into this law???
A word to the wise. Get that Bluetooth working and figure it out before midnight.
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