bill has passed out of the Washington state Senate that would require drivers
to keep their hands off the phone.
recently voted 28-18 to send legislation to the House that would ban hand-held
cell phone use while driving in the state. Talking on a phone equipped with a “hands-free” device would still be permitted.
by Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, the bill would make it a secondary offense
to drive while using a hand-held phone – meaning they would have to be pulled
over for another offense before they could receive a cell-phone ticket.
Violators could be fined more than $100.
would exempt emergency calls.
not banning them,” Eide told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “I just
think it’s a common-sense law.”
New York and New Jersey have the only statewide laws restricting cell phone use
in vehicles. Several states, however, are in the process of addressing the
may change as more studies underline the risks and dangers of driving while
chatting on the phone.
recently released study by the University of Utah found that when drivers
between the ages of 18 and 25 talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly
people – moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of
you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction
times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,” David Strayer, a University of
Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study, told the
like instant aging,” he said.
said it doesn’t matter whether the phone is hand-held or hands-free, calling
into question the effectiveness of legislation similar to that proposed by
Edie. Any activity requiring a driver to “actively be part of a conversation” likely will impair driving abilities, Strayer said.
is in the House Transportation Committee.