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Chicago weighs cell phone driving ban
Posted: 26-Sep-2000 [Source: Reuters]

[Verizon voices support for ban on handheld cell phones while driving currently under consideration in Chicago.]

by Andrew Stern, Chicago -- "Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. cellular telephone provider, said it broke with the industry on Monday and agreed to support laws that would ban handheld cell phone use while driving, a practice blamed for deadly accidents.

"Verizon Wireless's apparent change of heart came as a committee of Chicago aldermen quickly postponed a vote on a proposal to make the city the biggest U.S. municipality yet to make it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving.

"This is a rather subtle issue we're dealing with here and we want to get it right," Alderman Burton Natarus said as he called off testimony on his proposal in front of the City Council's Traffic and Safety Committee.

"The small town of Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, was the first American municipality to make it a traffic violation to drive with a cell phone glued to one's ear -- except in an emergency. About five other municipalities have passed similar bans, though a few ordinances were later struck down by the courts.

"The industry has been largely opposed to bans on cell phone use while driving, although it has promoted safety campaigns.

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