Quinn signs texting ban bill

August 6, 2009 3:27:57 PM PDT
Texting while driving will soon be against the law in Illinois.Governor Quinn signed a bill on Thursday that bans drivers from texting or downloading ring tones when they're behind the wheel.

The law takes effect New Year's Day.

At Northeastern University on Thursday Gov. Quinn signed the bill that bans motorists from sending text messages while driving in Illinois.

Additionally, the governor signed legislation that makes it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving through a highway construction zone or school speed zone.

The governor was joined on Thursday by Chuck and Gloria Wilhelm of Bourbannais, the parents of 25-year-old Matt Wilhelm who was killed by a distracted driver in September of 2006 while riding his bike in Urbana. The driver admitted she was downloading ringtones when her car hit Wilhelm.

For the past two and half years the Wilhelms have been pushing for tougher penalties.

"This isn't about Matt. It's too late for Matt. But it's not too late for you or a member of your family. But it could be if people don't put down the cell phones, stop talking, stop texting and if people do not enforce what is being signed into law today, " said Gloria Wilhelm.

The penalty for texting while driving or using a cell phone on a highway construction zone or school speed zone will now show as a moving violation that will go on the motorist's driving record.

The bill was sponsored by a number of legislators who pushed for it.

"If you drive and text, you're in violation of the law. You can get a fine a $75 fine up to $150," said Secretary of State Jesse White.

"It really is a danger and a distraction to drive and text. Bottom line is it's not yourself so much that you are worried about, it's other people who are taking their lives into your hands," said Rep. John D'Amico, (D) 15th District.

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"We've done our part, now we're asking you and the law enforcement officers to please do their part," said Wilhelm.


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