Lake Forest Passes Cell Phone Ban Ordinance

Will go into effect starting Sept. 1.


Rather than wait for lawmakers in Springfield to pass a state-wide ban on the use of hand-held cell phones in the car, the passed its own ordinance at Monday night's meeting by a 5-2 margin.

Catherine Waldeck and Stanford Tack both voted against the ordinance, while voting in favor were Mike Adelman, Kent Elliot Novit, David Moore, Donald Schoenheider, Robert Palmer. Alderman George Pandaleon was absent.

Lake Forest joins Highland Park and Evanston along the North Shore to pass ordinances against hand-held cell phone use in a vehicle.

The ordinance will take effect Sept. 1.

a lack of consensus among the eight aldermen resulted in a 4-4 tie vote on first reading. Mayor James Cowhey voted to break the tie with a “no,” since the Illinois General Assembly was also then considering an expansion of the state cell phone law, which requires hands-free-only use in school and construction zones.

Monday night, City Manager Bob Kiely indicated the Illinois House did approve a hand-held cell phone, but that the bill was sitting in a Senate Transportation committee and didn't appear to be gaining any traction.

He added that if the City Council passed the ordinance and the Senate approves a bill, Lake Forest "could go back and tweak it as necessary."

Lake Forest's ordinance states "using" shall include, without limitation: (1) talking or listening to another person on the telephone; (2) text messaging; (3) sending, reading or listening to an electronic message; and (4) browsing the Internet. (see the full ordinance in the attached PDF).

If a driver is ticketed, the ordinance states the offender shall attend an administrative hearing at Lake Forest City Hall and be fined "no less than $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $300 for each offense thereafter." 

Waldeck said her stance on the issue had not changed since February when she voted against it. She said the issue is the state's problem, and the current "hodge-podge" of ordinances scattered in some neighboring communities only creates more confusion for drivers than clarity.

"Evanston is even discussing an ordinance banning a hands-free device," she noted. "Some studies say it’s not any safer. It’s confusing. I think it’s unfortunate the state has not acted."

Waldeck also didn’t like creating the impression that the ordinance is a means to fill city coffers and for the police to become a "tax collection agency than a crime prevention agency".

"I’m concerned about creating some bad feelings on residents toward the police department," she said. "They could be saying, 'Don’t you have something better to do?' I think they could focus on other things than writing tickets."

Tack, who was not present for the earlier debates since he just recently joined the City Council, agreed with Waldeck, echoing her concerns of using police departments as revenue generators.

However, Adelman and Schoenheider both said this was an issue of safety, not revenue generating.

"The last thing I think of is revenue generator," Adelman said. "I think of potential human lives being saved. I’m not willing to wait for the state. It’s not good to have a patchwork of laws. It’s so easy to buy a $50 Bluetooth device, keeping your eyes on the road and potentially saving a human life."

Added Schoenheider, "If we can safe one life, one injury, one incident from happening, then we’ve done something really important."

Moore agreed he felt "irresponsible in my mind to wait."

"There are few times you actually get to do something that bugs you," he said. "This is a personal thing. We get to do something about something that I think is unsafe."

For more news and updates from Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch, subscribe to our daily e-newsletter,Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Life is Good May 23, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Nancie D: Intelligence has nothing to do with responsibility.
DLN May 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Rebecca, you are so right! Yay for the ordinance! About time!
DLN May 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Personal freedom does not mean endangering lives!
Life is Good May 23, 2012 at 09:20 PM
DLN: Second hand smoke endangers peoples lives everyday. Should the Government decide that people can only smoke in their own homes? I am not suggesting that talking on a cell phone is the same as smoking but how much longer do we want to be told what, where and when we can do things?
Pat Lyon May 23, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Hallelujah! I hope the police strongly enforce this law. Between moms & teenagers, the city can generate some good revenue.
Life is Good May 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Oh yeah, MEN are never on their cell phones. WRONG
Kimmarie Munoz May 24, 2012 at 02:03 PM
How is talking on a cell phone hands free any different than talking with a passenger in the car?
S May 24, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Whats the difference between a hands free cellphone conversation using bluetooth and a conversation with a passenger sitting right next to you? NOT A DAMN THING. What's next, outlawing conversations between passengers? I'm all for safety. And bluetooth IS the answer. I use it every day and I am not distracted in the least. It's the idiots driving around with their phones pressed against their ears - that takes one hand off the wheel - who are the problem. And I hate to say it, but I see a lot of women doing this in town - yaking it up mile after mile. Just who are you all talking to?
DLN May 24, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I agree with S, but it is not only the women yakking on the phone. I was just behind a man yesterday who didn't know what he was doing at all, he was so involved in his hand held phone conversation!
DLN May 24, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Who said it's any different/
Life is Good May 24, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Okay DLN, I'm so sure you sit there in your car and give your COMPLETE attention to driving. You don't think about anything but driving because of course that would endanger the lives of everybody else. And if there happens to be another person in your car you ignore them correct? And the radio/cd/sat is off, because of course that could distract you.
DLN May 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Right, and I leave the cell phone alone! How about you, Life is Good?
Life is Good May 24, 2012 at 09:21 PM
First of all I don't believe you, second of all what I do is none of your business.
S May 24, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The issue is about distraction. Passengers distract. Drinking your Starbucks after the drive-thru distracts. Changing radio stations distracts. Phones distract. And the main reason phones distract more are the people who don't have or don't use bluetooth. Holding a phone up to your ear takes away your hand, and now you are driving one-handed, and you head is not free to move left and right as easily b/c it's stuck to a cellphone. And your left peripheral vision is occluded too. But I don't believe for one minute, with the use of bluetooth, that a phone call is any more distracting than the other things we do inside our cars.
Life is Good May 24, 2012 at 11:28 PM
And sipping a hot starbucks is better? I've seen it all, shaving in the car, applying make-up, eating etc. So what's next? No drinking water/coffee/soda in the car?
DLN May 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Life is good: So is what I do none of YOUR business. This is about hand held cell phones, not radios, etc. The whole point is to pay attention! Get a grip!
RationalTht May 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
If this ordinance were TRULY about safety, they would not have stopped at cell phones. There are many more dangerous "distracted driving" that the police let go unstopped - eating, applying make-up, etc. The decision to target cell-phones is just a politically accepted money making scheme by the council.
RationalTht May 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
@Life is Good - by the fact that there are more stay at home moms here in LF than dads, they are the ones more likely to be driving around town. Not saying that men do not equally talk on the phone, but from a revenue generating perspective, the moms and teens who are here more will more likely be the ones hit. This should also be taken into account if "statistics show" more women getting these kind of citations in LF in the future.
RationalTht May 26, 2012 at 03:59 PM
If the city were really concerned about safety and not revenue, this would be the case.
LS May 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM
About time too. Driving and holding the phone is distracting, especially whilst turning corners. The next thing that need to be tackled are the idiots who think its OK to drive with a dog on their lap. I've seen it so often in Lake Forest, usually women even collecting their children from school. The other day I saw a man driving in town with TWO dogs on his knee. Unbelievable!! No one would dream about driving with an unrestrained toddler on their knee. Why do they think it's OK to have a dog there?
Steve Handwerker May 28, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I'm OK with the cell-phone rules. More effective could be "you must have at least one hand on the wheel at all times" ticketing...keep your hands off the book/phone/newspaper/half-caf-double-whip latte and keep your eyes on the road. Hear, hear, LS! Dogs on laps -- STUPID and DANGEROUS. I am 100,000% against the red-light cameras -- they are PURELY revenue-generators and statistically proven to cause accidents rather than prevent them. People freak out and hit the brakes to not even go through a yellow light...and instead get rear-ended or freak out other motorists.
Michael H. Ebner May 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Lake Forest has done the right thing. Admittedly the resolution isn't perfect. Neither am I. If it is enforced -- as it should be -- the ordinance will make a difference.
RationalTht May 28, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Dr. K - well, the council should then ban eating, drinking, putting on makeup, talking with a passenger, changing the radio station by the driver as well if they are TRULY concerned with distracted driving. Just banning cell phones is a politically acceptable method to raise more revenue. They should at least be honest about why the passed the ordinance - no difference than Chicago with its red-light cameras.
RationalTht May 28, 2012 at 01:49 PM
@DLN - you ignored the question - Life is Good indicated you better not talk with passengers, eat or drink, or even listen to the radio while you are driving because you are being distracted - otherwise, you are just a hypocrite.
Vicky Kujawa May 29, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Kids in the car are infinitely more distracting than a cell phone; next ordinance we will have to tie the kiddies to the roof. Does every farty little thing needs a new rule? All of these new laws and cameras are beginning to remind me of some dimwitted college drinking game. I am disappointed in this ridiculous law. Are people nowadays too dense to handle personal responsibility?
Vicky Kujawa May 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM
As usual....it's all about the $$$$$.
Vicky Kujawa May 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Technically, we should ban the Metra; more people have been killed by trains this year than cell phones.
Vicky Kujawa May 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Guess everything is going the way of Obammie........sad to watch one of the few decent places left in ILLAnnoy go downhill.
DLN May 30, 2012 at 07:56 PM
If everyone just pays attention to the driving, there won't be any revenue. Too many tangents here!
Michael Hunt April 05, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Everyone in this comment thread is literally rediculous. Like do you guys have nothin better to do then fight about this? And frankly, I bet this is just a bunch of stuck up rich Lake Forest parents bickering that they can't do exactly what they want. If you somehow can't either afford a Bluetooth or spare $100, move out of our town. If you don't believe in this, use your phone. The cops in lake forest are so crappy anyway, and if you do get a ticket then just pay it and be more careful. If you don't want the ticket put a Bluetooth in your car. It's pretty simple.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »