January 22, 2020

Hands-Free Driving Law Unanimously Passes House Committee

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee Wednesday.

The legislation, a priority of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s, now heads to the House floor.

Several people who’ve lost loved ones to distracted driving gave emotional testimony in committee. That includes Amber Brown, whose younger brother was killed when he was struck by a driver on their cell phone.

“If your nose is in your phone, your eyes are not on the road," Brown says. "It’s that simple.”

Less simple is exactly what the bill would ban. State Police Superintendent Doug Carter says he believes the measure gives law enforcement clear guidance.

“Is the device in the human hand? It’s visual," Carter says. "It’s visual.”

But some worry the bill’s exact language would bar, for instance, Uber drivers from using phones mounted to their dashboards. Still, no one testified against the legislation in committee. And the bill’s authors committed to ensuring the language is clear.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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