Illinois Cell Phone Ban: Lawmakers Move Closer To State-Wide Ban On Hand-Held Phone Use While Driving

"A hand-held cellphone is a huge distraction while driving a car," said Rep. John D'Amico, a Chicago Democrat and the bill's sponsor, according to NBC.

Under the proposed law, drivers caught talking on a phone while driving could be stopped and ticketed by police, reports CBS Chicago; three violations in a year could mean a revoked license for drivers caught flouting the law. Hands-free options like Bluetooth devices, speakerphones are safe under the bill, which also makes exceptions for two-way mobile radios, and for using a cell phone in a emergency.

Though the law is proposed as a safety measure, opponents aren't short on arguments against it.

Rep. Mike Bost, a Murphysboro Republican, likened the proposed ban to an Orwellian "Big Brother" crackdown, reports the Tribune, while others say the bill is unfair to people with hearing problems and low-income drivers who can't afford the technology that would remain legal.

Glenview Democrat Laura Fine had a different — and poignant — take, according the Tribune. The lawmaker's husband lost an arm in a crash caused by a distracted driver and told the House, "A phone call is not that important. If your family is impacted by a distracted driver, it is devastating."

House Bill 2417 is a re-run of a similar bill died in the State Senate last year, though Illinois lawmakers did successfully ban texting while driving back in 2009.