CHICAGO
03/09/2012 10:49 am ET

Illinois Cell Phone Ban: Bill Barring Use While Driving Advanced By State House (VIDEO)

The Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday advanced legislation that would ban drivers statewide from using cell phones while on the road, though hands-free devices would still permitted under the proposal.

(Scroll down to watch a report on the proposed ban.)

The proposed ban would not be without exceptions, as CBS Chicago reports that two-way mobile radios would still be permitted, as well as calls placed in emergencies. Those ticketed for violating the ban would be hit with a moving violation and a $75 fine on their first offense.

"If we want to get serious about stopping distracted driving and saving lives on the roadway, there needs to be a severe penalty involved," the bill's sponsor, state Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago), told the GateHouse News Service of the proposal.

But critics say the ban makes Illinois a "nanny state" and would be "unenforceable."

State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Countryside) voted against the proposal because he would like to see additional exceptions to the ban, including "If someone is actually in harm's way, or if they’re lost or if they're trying to navigate out of a high-crime area," CBS reports.

State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) earlier this year commented that a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving "might be inevitable." Nine states have already implemented such bans and Chicago and several other Illinois municipalities also already have ordinances in place that punish drivers using cell phones.

Just north of Chicago, Evanston is taking such bans a step further -- it is considering a ban on all cell phone use by drivers including with a hands-free operator, the Chicago Tribune reports. If approved, the village would be home to one of the nation's strictest laws on cell phone use by drivers.

WATCH Fox Chicago's report on the proposed statewide driver cell phone use ban:

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