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
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.