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Cell Phone Ban Doesn't Apply To All Construction Zones

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) -- Illinois drivers are not allowed to use hand-held cell phones in construction zones, but state lawmakers have learned the definition of "construction zone" isn't all encompassing.

As WBBM Newsradio's Alex Degman reports, the zones are defined by the current anti-cell phone law as an area where the speed is reduced. Thus, drivers in construction zones where speed limits don't change can legally still use the phone.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Alex Degman reports


James Barkemeyer, village president of Bannockburn, says that has caused problems.

"We had a head-on (collision) that was actually pretty graphic," he recalled. "We've also had cars fall off the road. Not a single one of these things was the result of external factors such as ice, fog, landslides, whatever. It's all been distracted driving."

The Illinois Department of Transportation says work zones within municipalities, such as Bannockburn, typically aren't lowered as the speed limits are already reduced.

A measure to re-define work zones as they relate to phone use is in an Illinois Senate committee; an amendment will likely be drafted to allow the use of hands-free devices.

Under state law, cell phone use without a hands-free device is also forbidden in school zones, and anywhere in the city of Chicago. Neither hand-held or hands-free cell phones may be used by novice drivers, a category that includes anyone under the age of 19.

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