Talking on cell phones while driving soon banned in Illinois

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CASEYVILLE, IL (KPLR)-Talking on your cell phone while driving in Illinois, will soon be enough to get you pulled over.  If you don't have one of those hands free devices for your phone, you'll need to go shopping before the first of January; otherwise you'll need to put down that phone before getting behind the wheel.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the new law Friday. Police will be able to pull you over if you're using a hand held cell phone while driving your car here.  Illinois is the twelfth state in the country to initiate the ban, and the first one in the Midwest to do it.  If you're caught you'll be fined at least $75.00.

The law takes effect January 1, 2014.

There are dueling studies about the level of danger you face when driving with a phone to your ear.  The Department of Transportation says you're four times more likely to be in an injury accident, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says it's not clear if there's any difference between having the phone to your ear and using a hands free device, which will be allowed.

A law like this has been in place in Chicago for some time, and now lawmakers are taking it statewide.

In Missouri, the rules are much more lax. A ban on texting and driving for those under twenty-one is the only cell phone restriction on that side of the river.

A companion law also increases the penalty if you injure someone in an accident while using an electronic device in Illinois.

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