ON-AIR: Urbana city council proposes cell phone ban

By Meghan Bieda

“Shut up and drive.”

That was Urbana City Council member Charlie Smyth who has proposed a ban prohibitting the use of cell phones while driving. Smyth compares driving while talking on a cell phone to driving under the influence.

“It’s an interactive technology where you’re actually trying to communicate with something beyond the car, puts you in a situation where your focus is no longer 100% in drive. In fact, you’re basically impaired as a driver when you try to use these interactive technologies, such as a cell phone.”

Smyth is taking action after three fatal accidents blamed on cell phone use have occurred in the past year. He has been working cloesely with the Wilhelm family whose son Daniel was the victim of the most recent accident.

This proposal does not include the use of hands-free devices because Smyth says those don’t make a difference. The proposal is being examined before it will be voted on by the Champaign City Council.