Urbana City Council to revisit cell phone ban

By Eric Heisig

The Urbana City Council will once again be looking at banning the use of cell phones while driving during their meeting Monday night.

The Committee of the Whole will be looking at drafting an ordinance that would fine any person who gets into an accident while operating a cell phone. If passed as an ordinance, the limit for the fine would be $750, but could be higher depending on the situation.

There is, however, a clause in the ordinance that would make some government employees exempt from this rule. The proposed ordinance states that “all law enforcement, fire rescue personnel, emergency vehicle operators, public works personnel, and other government personnel are exempt from this section if a mobile communications device is a piece of equipment necessary to the normal functions of their position, and the use of the device was during the normal course of conducting their job functions.”

In addition, the ordinance would have a one year study conducted by the Urbana Police Department to find out how big of a factor mobile cell phones are to car accidents.

The Council last discussed the issue of this at a meeting on May 12, where the idea for this ordinance came from. If passed and sufficient evidence is fined, there could be a ban on using cell phones while driving in the future.

The Urbana City Council meets on Mondays at 7 p.m. in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.