Cell Phone Ban Bill Passes Louisiana House Committee
A bill that would ban hand held cell phone use while driving gets a green light from the Louisiana House Transportation Committee. Representative Regina Barrow's legislation would make it a secondary offense to drive while talking on your cellphone WITHOUT a hands free device. Barrow says this is a safety issue.
"I believe that this is, this step that the country is moving in and I believe that we need to be on the cutting edge of insuring that we need to keep our citizens more safer."
But Representative Barbara Norton does not believe that using a bluetooth or any other hands free device would be less distracting than holding your phone. She believes any type of distraction while driving is dangerous.
"Are we really talking about safety on the highway? Because if we are talking about safety on the highway, there are men who are fixing their ties, there are womens who are doing lip stick. There are just many, many different things that are going on while we are driving on the highway."
New Iberia Rep. Terry Landry says he would like to see legislation that would ban all distractions while driving. He supports Barrow's bill but pointed out "that any distraction has a potential for a crash, even so much as a fatality."
Bobby Breeland, a traffic safety program contractor for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, says there is currently no statistical data that specifically shows that hand-held cellphones contribute to crashes.
The measure narrowly passed in committee by a 9-7 vote. It now heads to the Louisiana House floor for further debate.