The flashing lights of a parked ambulance or other emergency vehicle may soon be a sign for Illinois drivers to hang up the phone.
The limited cell phone ban goes to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk. It passed in the House on Monday by 84-30.
The legislation would make it illegal for drivers to make calls with a hand-held phone within 500 feet of an accident scene where emergency vehicles have flashing lights, except for reporting emergencies. It also bans sending picture and video messages while driving at any time.
Illinois State Trooper Mike Kindhart has been with the state police agency for the past 12 years and he said, "We need for you to put the cell phone down. Use the common sense approach. The social media. The opportunities that we have. I know it's easy to snap a picture and send it to someone that you think may know somebody that's in that crash. But again, we're driving defensively. We're trying to make sure that those emergency personnel can take care of business. Take care of their task at hand and we ask that you do the same thing and that care of your task at hand."
Supporters say it would reduce the risk of careless drivers hitting accident victims or emergency personnel. Cell phone use by drivers already is banned in construction and school zones.
Opponents call the ban overregulation by the state.