LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG - Drive While Talking on Your Cell Phone? In CHICAGO, No Earpiece = Big Fine!
THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG!
Do you dogs bark on the cell phone while driving? C'mon - fess up! I know some of you do! What about texting? Naah . . . that would be REAL dangerous, especially for a lil' dog. You . . . don't tell me . . . !
Well, fairly soon, here in the City of Chicago, if you talk directly on your cell without the use of a wired or wireless earpiece, or, as I am sporting here, my new Bluetooth Stereo Headset that I just bought from Best Buy ($64.95), you could be in for a big fine, if you're caught. (My headset also plays stereo music through my Zune or other Bluetooth-enabled MP3 Player, in case you were wondering).
Chicago has had restrictions on cell phone use since 2005. At that time, they imposed a $75 fine if you're pulled over by the police with an active cell phone in your paw (or against your lil' ear). The fine rose to $200 if it could be proven you were involved in a traffic accident while talking on your cell phone without an earpiece or headset.
Well, now - the fines will likely increase! According to Dan Mihalopoulos's post in the Chicago Tribune Clout Street Blog yesterday, Chicago Aldermen will discuss raising the cell phone fines at a Chicago City Council Meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, February 11th. The fines would increase to $100 for no headset used, and $500 if your lack of a cell phone headset causes an accident. This fine increase would take effect 10 days after passage of a revised ordinance.
Today, the headset or earpiece requirement goes largely ignored by many drivers - and the Chicago Police. (Often times, the police themselves chatter away on their cells while driving!) According to Chicago 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O'Connor, however, enforcement is expected to increase if the new fine structure is approved. He would expect improper use of cell phones while driving would then fall.
I've been told that cell phone usage is so restricted in Great Britain and parts of Europe that you can't even use a cell at all - with or without an earpiece - while you're driving! Big, big fines apply - so most drivers comply. Accident rates falling overseas as a result of the tougher law - well, the jury is still out on this.
But fumbling with a cell phone is distracted driving, you know. And any driving distractions could cause a fender bender . . . or worse!
Next time I drive downtown to The Chicago Loop, I think I'll just use my speaker phone! Or, perhaps just bark out the window!
YOUR ACE REPORTER ON FOUR PAWS,
BUDDY HOLLY MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO