Not only will Illinois drivers be prohibited from using a hand-held phone while driving, but the state should – once that new law takes effect in January – be able to qualify for federal distracted-driving grants in 2014. A report this fall indicates 43 states – including Illinois – did not qualify for the funds. That sounds like good news to State Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago), who sponsors many traffic safety bills in the Illinois General Assembly.
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“Unfortunately, there was a tragic accident in my district,” D’Amico says in explaining his connection to this issue. “Some parents asked me to actually try to raise the driving age to 18. But we couldn’t get that done, and, because of that, a lot of our bills have evolved from our graduated driver’s license, something that I sponsored: increasing the hours (of training) behind the wheel, and also the texting-and-driving ban and the cell phone ban.” D’Amico paid for it at home; he introduced the bill to raise the driving age to 18 just as one of his children was turning 16.