Breaking news this afternoon from the Chicago Tribune‘s Web site:

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed into law a measure that will ban Illinois motorists from sending text messages while driving in an effort to cut down on distracted driving.

“It’s really bad that we have to legislate logic,” said Secretary of State Jesse White, who pushed the measure. “Common sense would tell you that when your eyes are off the road, who’s driving?”

Of course, White is right. But, as the saying goes, common sense no longer seems to be common.

Case in point: Last month I was driving north on Route 23 (a one-way, three-lane roadway) when a teenage girl slowly crept past me in her clunker — while using both hands to send a text message! I rolled down my window and yelled at her to keep her eyes on the road, though she didn’t appear to hear me. I drove away from her as fast as I legally could.

Imagine my surprise when, about a week later, I saw the same girl in the same car along the same stretch of Route 23 using both hands to put her hair in a ponytail while driving. At least this time she appeared to have her eyes on the road.

It amazes me that there are people like that, who don’t use basic common sense while performing a potentially dangerous task such as driving in multi-lane traffic. But that’s exactly why lawmakers sometimes have to legislate common sense.

For more details about the cans and can’ts of the texting-while-driving ban, click here.

The new law doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, but there is no good reason for drivers not to start obeying it now.

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