When the National Transportation Safety Board suggested that all states ban the use of any handheld device by drivers, many legislators decried the idea as an affront to personal liberties. However, perhaps quietly, many states are beginning to take the suggestion seriously and are moving toward the creation of legislation designed to do just that.

Right now Illinois legislators are pondering just such a proposal, meant to ban the use of cell phones while driving.

According the NTSB report distracted driving, most commonly caused when a driver is occupied on a cell phone either talking or texting, is the most common cause of traffic fatalities in the nation. Distracted driving crashes resulting in fatalities now outnumber the fatal crashes caused by driving under the influence. In fact, fatal vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teenage drivers.

So, when the NTSB recommended states enact a ban on handheld on devices by drivers, and had the evidence to show why such a ban was needed, there was little to dispute.

If the current cell phone ban in Illinois passes the state legislature it will become illegal for drivers to use a handheld cell phone while driving. the ban is similar to a handheld devices law in place in Chicago since 2009, only the statewide ban would classify the offense as a moving violation. People caught using a handheld device while driving would be subject to a fine between $75 and $150. Three such offenses in a year would result in suspension of their driving privileges.The law would not stop drivers from using hands free devices, either through a Sync system or a Blue Tooth enabled devices, but the driver would need their hands free at all times.

There is already a state law banning the use of any type of cell phone by drivers under the age of 19, but this new state ban would impact all drivers. It also seems likely, given the evidence supplied by the NTSB, that the new state ban would save lives.