Local Politics

Senate bill would ban hand-held cell phone use for drivers

Posted July 2, 2010

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— State lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the use of hand-held cell phones behind the wheel.

Currently the state bans the use of cell phones for school bus drivers and drivers younger than 18.

The bill has made its way through the Senate and was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration on Thursday.

Keisha Jacobs-Jones said she likes the idea of the bill, but admits she does talk on her phone behind the wheel.

“People get to talking and not paying attention, trying to answer cell phones. I think that's a good thing to ban while driving,” she said.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have banned hand-held cell phone use while driving, however, it is unclear how effective the bans have been.

cell phone Should cell phones be banned for drivers?

Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at four states with hand-held cell phone bans. The number of drivers using hand-held phones dropped, while accident rates held steady.

Safety advocates point to a National Safety Council study that showed a driver is four times more likely to crash while talking on a cell phone.

Cell phone while driving

Should state lawmakers ban cell phone use behind the wheel?
Yes, both hand-held and hands-free use should be banned
No, I support hand-held and hands-free use
Yes, but only hand-held cell phone use should be banned

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Cell phone user Robert Nunley said he tries to stay safe on his mobile phone by using a Bluetooth device to make the phone hands-free.

But researchers say driving with hands-free cell phones is just as dangerous as hand-held devices.

Senate Bill 12 would not affect hands-free phones. Violators would be fined $100.

The bill calls for $10,000 to enforce the existing ban on school bus drivers using mobile phones.

60 Comments

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  • robzero Jul 8, 2010

    Just like guns don't kill people or cell phone talking doesn't kill people. Stupid irresponsible people kill people! You can't ban stupid :(

  • robzero Jul 8, 2010

    Now we all are seeing how very important we vote next election for our state first. We as a state put these ban crazy, rights removing senators and reps in office and now they can do what ever they want.....:sadface: I'll leave you with a quote from -Ty Webb "This isn't Russia. Is this Russia? This isn't Russia."

  • Blue steel Jul 2, 2010

    I was all for talking on the phone while driving until today....I am a police officer (Yes, an ethical one) who was responding to a very bad wreck with injuries. I spent two minutes trying to get around one driver who was apparently in la-la land. When I get beside her, I see she is deep in conversation on her cell phone. That delay could have cost someone their life.

  • pyrosinthesky Jul 2, 2010

    This is an idiotic bill. I don't particularly care for cell phone use while driving, but kids in car seats in the back seat are way more of a problem. I have never seen anybody weaving around on the road using a cell phone. The problem I see is that most travel too slow because they are trying to be careful.

    Changing channels on the radio, CD players have caused as much distraction as cell phones do. Screaming kids do as well. This is just another scapegoat law.

  • paginasecunda Jul 2, 2010

    I fully support this law and believe that the driver should not be using any electronic communication devices of any kind while the vehicle is in motion (I'll make an exception for Walkie Talkies in case multiple vehicles are travelling together). The difference between a handfree device and having a passenger in the seat next to you is that the passenger can see when you have to concentrate on a situation and shuts up. The person talking to you on the cellphone can't do that. As for the argument that I hear about "What if I have to take a call?", driving is a decision that you make. If you can't afford to not answer the phone, then you make the decision to not drive that day, or to have a friend drive you. It's pretty simple to me. I'm too responsible to risk someone else's life because I feel a need to yap away about something on the cellphone. I don't appreciate it when I have to perform evasive maneuvers because somebody twice my age and half my maturity is driving.

  • MadderMan Jul 2, 2010

    "...and those talking GPS gadgets are a huge distraction, as well. Ban them."

    Actually, you are dead wrong on this one. My GPS keeps me from driving too slowly blocking traffic trying to find the street sign someone has stolen to hang on their wall so I will know where to turn. GPS units are programmed before beginning the trip, so they don't interfere with driving at all, they just help.

    If you want to complain about something, complain about these new cars with the touchscreen in the dash that does all kinds of things. Not only are you concentrating on something besides your driving, you are looking away from the road at the same time.

  • thewayitis Jul 2, 2010

    Talking on a hands-free device is not any different from talking to a passenger...Maybe all talking in cars should be prohibited?

  • rescuefan Jul 2, 2010

    "YAY NANNY STATE!!! Can't wait for the "PTB" (Powers That Be to the uninitiated) ban nose picking and ear scratching. They may also want to require car companies to install UV resistant windshields, steering wheels made from recycled unicorn horns and GPS devices that lead you to the nearest IRS offices. Yes!!
    Giggity"

    Funny. Nanny state indeed. People run me off the road while they are talking on their cell phones, almost run people over in parking lots while talking on their cell phones, run red lights while talking on cell phones and that all seems to be just fine with you. Guess what? My life is more important than your opinion of this law.

  • Giggity Jul 2, 2010

    YAY NANNY STATE!!! Can't wait for the "PTB" (Powers That Be to the uninitiated) ban nose picking and ear scratching. They may also want to require car companies to install UV resistant windshields, steering wheels made from recycled unicorn horns and GPS devices that lead you to the nearest IRS offices. Yes!!

  • SM Jul 2, 2010

    Hands-free cell phone use while driving is, in my opinion, no more or less dangerous than carrying on a conversation with someone sitting in the car with you. If they ban hands-free cell phone use, might as well ban talking while driving period.

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