Today’s Headlines

  • Metra May Join Ventra Soon (DNA)
  • Hilkevitch Eats His Words on Divvy (Tribune)
  • Divvy Stat Junkies, Feast Your Eyes on This (Tribune)
  • Governor Signs Statewide Ban of Cell Phone Use While Driving (Tribune)
  • SUV Driver Killed in Crash on Kennedy in Bucktown (Tribune)
  • Pickup Truck Driver Killed in New Lenox Rollover Crash (Tribune)
  • Off-Duty Chicago Cops Dies After Suffering Heart Attack on Motorcycle (Sun-Times)
  • Man Fatally Crashes Motorcycle on Edens in Wilmette (Sun-Times)
  • Driver Cited After Seriously Injuring Ped in Streeterville (DNA)
  • Flyers Warn Diabled Parking Cheats About Upcoming Penalties (Sun-Times)
  • Quiet Car Debuts on Amtrak Wolverine Service to Michigan (Sun-Times)
  • The Container Store Layout Contains Some Handy Bike Parking (Ding Ding)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • CL

    I thought using a cell phone while driving was already illegal statewide, but I guess it was just Chicago and other cities… I worry that these bans encourage more texting in your lap because it’s hidden, but I guess it’s good for laws to reflect what people should be doing (neither).

    Mixed feelings about the new rules for disabled parking — it will probably reduce the number of people parking all day for free who don’t really need the placards, but at the same time, I think there are good reasons to keep free disabled parking — mainly that disabled people don’t have the same options that other people have. I can park on a residential street and walk a few blocks to avoid paying for parking, while a disabled person might have to park right in front of his or her destination. They also might be unable to walk to the nearest CTA bus stop. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

  • Texting was illegal statewide (I didn’t know this until I read the same article). An investigator or prosecutor could look at your phone’s records and see your activity around the time of a crash. Police officers in their Tahoe SUVs probably have a better view into cars.

    I understand the doubts some researchers have about the effectiveness of a total handheld cellphone ban on reducing crashes (who were interviewed in the article) but not everyone will be switching to using headsets to continue using their phone (other researchers believe there’s no difference in people’s inattention when using a handheld versus a handsfree phone).

    I believe many people will give up using a phone while driving altogether. This is what’s most important.

  • CL

    I’m pessimistic that people will stop texting using smartphones while driving, but I don’t know what the solution is — it’s already illegal, and I see so many people doing it. And I understand why it’s so tempting. I’m committed to not looking at my phone while driving, but it’s amazing how much willpower and restraint it takes when I’m stuck in traffic. Being trapped and bored with my smartphone beside me is like being really hungry when there is a piece of cake next to me. Combine that with people’s delusions that it’s okay if they’re careful, and I don’t know how we’re ever going to get people to stop.

    I do think the handheld ban will result in a reduction in people chatting throughout their commute. People will still use their phones, but I think people will switch to “Hey, I’m driving, make it quick, okay gotta go bye.”

  • Anonymous

    But the research quoted in the article showed that states with a ban on cellphone use did not see a reduction in crashes. So the people forgoing cellphone conversations must not be significant enough to see a reduction.

  • It seems more likely to me that nobody changes their behavior, regardless of whether it’s illegal in a given state or not, so it doesn’t affect the statistics …

  • Anonymous

    For The Record, Columbus and South Water is in LakeShoreEast/Illinois Center, or more simply, The New Eastside. It is not in Streeterville, that’s on the other side of the river.

  • It turns out DNA had the wrong Water Street. The crash was at Columbus and North Water Street, north of the river in Streeterville, by the NBC tower and the Sheridan. A friend of mine saw the aftermath.

  • Anonymous

    That makes more sense.

  • Anonymous

    It’s legal to text while in stopped traffic if you take your car out of gear (ie put it in neutral or park). I do this sometimes, but invariably forget to shift back into gear when I can move…

  • CL

    Thanks, that’s good to know — although typically I’m not completely stopped in traffic but crawling along at like 2 mph. And those situations require even more attention than usual because the car in front of you could stop at any time.