City to Send Message to Texting Drivers

Alderman Burke Heads the Charge

The city of Chicago wants to join the trend toward banning text messaging while driving.  The Chicago City Council is taking steps to prohibit drivers from texting while driving.

Last year, five New York teenagers were killed in a fiery crash that involved a texting driver.

The Chicago proposal would exempt law enforcement personnel and operators of emergency vehicles. All other drivers would be prohibited from texting and surfing, except when the vehicle is parked. Violators would face a $75 fine for each offense, or $200 if it involves a crash.

Alderman Edward Burke is pushing the ordinance. He said Wednesday he understands the arguments against the proposed ordinance, that Chicago shouldn't act like a nanny. But he said a text messaging ban would be a boon to safety, like the seat belt law.

“I do believe that ... the anti-texting ordinance and the anti-cell phone use ordinance can help to increase the safety of people (who) are operating motor vehicles in the city of Chicago,” Burke said.

Eight states currently ticket driving texters.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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