Local Politics

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

Posted July 2, 2010 3:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2010 6:27 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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

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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.