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Illinois House OKs Cell Phone Ban While Driving

The Illinois House has approved a measure that would prohibit using cell phones while driving.  The 64-46 vote Friday moves the bill to the state Senate for consideration.

The measure would force drivers to use hands-free devices or use speakerphone features for calls.

Police would be able to stop and ticket drivers holding a cell phone except during emergency situations. Chicago Democrat Rep. John D'Amico says 76 Illinois communities -- including Chicago -- already ban talking on phones and driving.

Opponents say the bill is unfair to individuals with hearing problems and those who cannot afford high-tech phones. D'Amico touted his measure as a public-safety matter.

Texting while driving is already illegal in Illinois.

Among Central Illinois legislators, State Reps. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and Dan Brady (R-Normal) voted for the ban, while Reps. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) voted against it.  Catlin Republican Chad Hays had an excused absence.

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