Evanston Township High School Public Safety Director Sam Pettineo has sent out a “Holiday Greetings” message to students and parents warning of a coming crackdown on distracted driving around the school.

“Illinois law and City of Evanston ordinance both prohibit the use of mobile phones for text messaging, sending, reading, or listening to an electronic message, or browsing the internet,” Pettineo says, not just talking on the phone while driving.

And Evanston Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says that over the next couple of weeks the school will post temporary signs around the campus perimeter as a reminder about distracted driving.

Grover says Evanston Police Sgt. Wally Baumgart will direct the city police enforcement effort, working with Pettineo.

“Our goals are to get people off their phones when they drive in the ETHS neighborhood, get the attention of the worst violators — parents, and continue to educate everyone about the dangers of distracted driving,” Grover says.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Cell ban sign

     Hello Bill, (and Sam, Jane & Wally) here is a better illustration.  Not too long ago, I asked one of my talented graphics friends (who lives in Barcelona!) to make me something that better conveyed the problem in Evanston.

    This was in response to nearly getting run over by a distracted driver while mowing one of my lawns on the 600 block of  Oakton.  It seemed that on that summer Sunday, more 50 percent of the cars passing within a few feet of me had drivers yacking on their darn phones!  What an opportunity for the City to cash in on dangerous behavior!"

  2. Aldermen can legally drive while yakking on the cell phone

    This warning doesn't apply to city employees, the aldermen or the mayor since they are exempt from the relatively new cell phone ordinance THEY enacted!

    I suppose city employees and our elected leaders are able to drive safely while talking or texting on the cell phone. The catch is they have to be talking or texting about city-related matters. And of course those discussions are just too important for aldermen and city employees to pull over and talk.

    Aldermen are so busy you know with the important tasks of dreaming up new ways to generate revenue through higher taxes, fees and fines. They are looking out for our best interests. Right?

    The gall. The audacity. Truly amazing.


    1. Yakking on Evanston Now

      Al, can you cite a single case of an alderman driving around while talking on a cell-phone?  Or is this just another imaginary problem that right wingers always cook up to stir envy and resentment (like the flag burning amendment , or the 'Ground Zero Mosque' ).

      If you are just going to rant about imaginary problems, without offering specifics, then you should at least entertain us with cartoons.

      1. You missed the point of the commit

        His point was that they exempted themselves from the rules that they imposed on the rest of us. This smells of the same stench as things the state legislature has done in recent years.
        Everybody can use the cell phone when reporting a crime, accident, or other serious issue that endangers the public. I don't think that includes sighting the mayor yakking on her cell phone while driving.


        1. Can you cite an example of

          Can you cite an example of some concerned citizen who used his or her cell-phone to report an emergency, and was then prosecuted?  

          This is a made-up issue. 

      2. Thank you for the link to my cartoons

        By the way it was rumored a certain public official was stopped talking on the cell phone by the police

        and also had a expired registration. Ofcourse it was covered up.  I will leave it at that –  maybe someone in the

        police department would comment off the record.

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