Mississippi bill to limit cell-phone use for drivers dies

| 2/12/2007

Drivers chatting on phones in Mississippi can continue to use hand-held cell phones without fear of being ticketed.

Sponsored by Rep. Billy Broomfield, D-Moss Point, the bill - HB32 - remained in the House Transportation Committee at the deadline to advance to the chamber floor, effectively killing it.

The bill sought to prohibit drivers in the state from talking on hand-held cell phones while driving. Talking on a phone equipped with a hands-free device would still have been permitted.

The bill would have made it a secondary offense to drive while chatting - meaning a person would have to be pulled over for another violation, such as speeding, before they could be ticketed for talking on the phone.

Violators would have faced $150 fines. Repeat offenders caught more than once within three years would have faced $300 fines. Drivers found in violation a third time within the same period would have faced jail time and community service.

Emergency calls would have been exempted.

A nearly identical effort that didn't include an exemption for emergency calls met the same fate.