state lawmaker gets his way, drivers in the state would be required to keep
their hands off their phones.
Rep. Paul Marcotte, R-Union, has introduced a bill that
would ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. Talking on a phone equipped
with a hands-free device would still be permitted.
“We’ve got to take every opportunity to make our roads
safer, even if that means waiting a couple of miles to make a cell phone call,” Marcotte told The Kentucky Post.
Marcotte said he feels public sentiment is behind him. In a
mail survey he sent out to constituents this year, 62 percent of respondents
said that banning hand-held cell phone use in vehicles was “essential to
highway safety,” the newspaper reported.
The bill would make it a secondary offense to drive while
using a hand-held phone – meaning a person would have to be pulled over for
another violation before they could be ticketed for talking on the phone.
Violators would face a fine between $20 and $100.
Emergency calls would be exempt.
have the only statewide laws restricting cell
phone use in vehicles. That list may grow, however, as more studies underline
the risks and dangers of driving while talking on the phone.
A recent study found that using cell phones while driving
can distract drivers, regardless whether they’re using a hands-free device.
The human brain can’t simultaneously give full attention to
both auditory and visual tasks, according to research by
In other words, if you’re on the phone, your brain can’t devote as much
attention to driving.
To make matters worse, research by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration says driver cell phone use increased in 2005 by 1
percent to 6 percent nationwide, compared to 5 percent in 2004.
The 2005 rate translates into 974,000 vehicles on the road
being driven by someone on a hand-held phone at any given daylight moment, Reuters reported. It also translates
into an estimated 10 percent of vehicles in the typical daylight moment whose
driver is using some type of phone, whether hand-held or hands-free.
Marcotte’s bill – HB9 – is in the House Transportation