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House Passes Ban On Handheld Cell Phone Use By Drivers

Jim Legans, Jr.
Flickr Creative Commons

The use of handheld cell phones while driving would be banned under a bill passed on Wednesday by the House.

New Hampshire would join 12 other states in banning hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.  There would be exceptions for dialing 911.

Bluetooth and other hands-free technology would remain legal, as well as the use of non-cellular 2-way radio.

Rep. George Sykes, a Democrat from Lebanon, told colleagues the measure is an important step toward improving public health.

“Isn’t it time to address this dangerous problem of distracted driving? Isn’t it time to prevent these unnecessary crashes and loss of life?”

But opponents of the bill, including Republican Rep. J.R. Hoelle of Dunbarton, call it unnecessary.

“As for the distracted driving and the negligent driving that’s out there, the people that are potentially acting irresponsibly with their cars, why don’t we look to start enforcing the statutes that are on the books?”

The measure, which passed 192-133, also prohibits the use of all mobile devices for drivers under age 18.

The penalty would be $100 for a first offense, and $250 for a second offense.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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