Rhode Island lawmaker seeks cell phone restriction

| 1/30/2004

A Rhode Island lawmaker has renewed an effort to pass legislation intended to reduce driver distractions.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter Kilmartin, D-Pawtucket, would prohibit hand-held cell phone use while driving. Talking on a phone equipped with a “hands-free” device would still be permitted.

Under H7065, a driver stopped for using a hand-held phone could be fined $35. The bill would exempt emergency calls.

Kilmartin sponsored a similar bill in 2001 that passed the Assembly only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Lincoln Almond. In rejecting the bill, the governor cited studies indicating that cell phones were low on the list of driver distractions.