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Paper maps and cellphones: a match made for the shoulder

Paper maps can be frustrating. Just think about how many have been thrown away rather than folded up. And watching drivers struggle with a map while rolling down the highway can be downright scary. Now comes the new state highway map that marries two great driver distractions: paper maps and cellphones.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is giving away maps with quick-response codes that you can scan with a smartphone and open a website about some attraction or another. The maps are available from the IDOT tent at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the free map is “something all drivers should keep in their vehicle,” The Associated Press reports.

The map features quick-response codes that when scanned with smartphones instantly take a user to websites such as Getting Around Illinois, Enjoy Illinois, and Travel Midwest; and those with information about St. Louis traffic, Amtrak train routes, alternative fuels and the yellow dot program in which motorists provide medical information to emergency responders.

I’m sure IDOT doesn’t intend for drivers to use the maps, the QR codes and their cellphones while behind the wheel. And drivers are supposed to use their phones hands-free in Chicago too.