I live in Plainfield, IL. I just read in the winter newsletter that the Village Board passed a negligent driving ordinance last month. The ordinance amends the Village Code to make it unlawful for any person to "negligently operate" a motor vehicle upon any roadway or public way--certainly an honorable intention. But I pulled it up online to check it out and I believe it specifically authorizes me to text while driving.
Negligently is defined as, among other things, engaging in inattentive actions. Inattentive actions include, among other things, the use of an electronic communication device. Electronic communications devices include, among other things, cell phones and PDAs capable of being used for the purpose of composing, reading or sending an electronic message. Here is the full text of the ordinance.
Then the ordinance declares that "This section is not intended to prohibit the use of an electronic communication device during the safe operation of a motor vehicle."
Cool. So, when I am driving through downtown Plainfield, as long as I am safely operating my car, I can text, watch youtube videos, tweet, and compete in online poker tournaments.
The argument is that you could never operate your car safely while doing any of those things. But keep in mind that police can pull you over if they see you texting, even if you have not made any other traffic infractions. If that happened, I believe you could at least argue this defense to the village prosecutor with a straight face. Of course, I can argue anything with a straight face, as you can tell from the preceding paragraphs. ;)