'Siri, Tell Me About The Hands-Free Law'
Jan. 1 brings a new Illinois law that limits talking on the phone while driving. It's often been referred to as "cell phone ban." But it's actually a bit more nuanced.
The law starts out by saying you cannot drive while using an electronic device such as a phone or laptop. But it's not that cut-and-dry. For example, you can place a call if it only requires pressing one button.
SIRI: *ding* MACKEY: Siri, can you make a call for me? SIRI: "With whom would you like to speak?" MACKEY: How about Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond?
"Hands must be on the wheel, and there will be no more talking on the phone, or using or holding of a cell phone," Bond says.
And that's the key point: using a headset or a speaker phone seems to be legal. But if you're caught holding a phone, the fines start at $75.
Illinois law already bans texting while driving. But the law does not apply to GPS devices, CB radios, or portable music players.