New Law Bans Drivers from Talking on Handheld Phones

Starting January first a new law kicks in banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving on all roadways, not just certain zones.

"Before it was illegal to use a handheld cell phone in school and construction zones and rightfully so," explained Secretary of State Deputy Press Secretary Henry Haupt.

Bluetooth headsets, earpieces and voice activated commands are allowed.

But Illinois State Senator Dave Syverson thinks the law is overregulation and voted against it. He believes it's confusing for drivers.

"You can use this phone for as a GPS, you can use it to do mapping, but you can't use it for texting or talking on the phone. How is a police officer going to know if you're using GPS or texting?" said Senator Syverson.

The only exemptions apply to police officers, first responders and drivers reporting emergencies or parked on the shoulder.

And now that you can't talk on your cell phone in the car, it's time to get your hands on a blue tooth headset instead.

According to Rockford Best Buy Manager Shane Davis the new law has those headsets selling fast.

"Like hot cakes right now. It’s not even a Christmas item but because people need it for their personal use with the new law coming into place in January," said Davis.

And Davis shares some tech advice on buying the right hands-free device.

"We've got a couple different types; one that goes in your ear, there’s also like a headset that can go around and there's also one that can go on your visor," said Davis.

Motorists who violate the law will receive a $75 fine for a first offense, $100 fine for a second offense, $125 for a third offense and $150 for a fourth offense.

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