UPDATE: N.C. Lawmakers Debate Cell Phone Ban

Senators fired questions Tuesday at the sponsor of a bill to ban drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones, and diluted the measure with amendments to reduce punishment and allow motorists to call a loved one in an emergency.

While support for separate legislation to bar drivers from texting on cell phones this year appears to be strong, the ban on calling while driving got lukewarm support from several members of the Senate Commerce Committee.

"I don't think we can protect everybody in every situation," said Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, who said eating in the car can lead to inattentive driving. "That's a lot more distracting, particularly when you start dropping chili on your tie."

The sponsor, Sen. Charlie Dannelly, agreed to some changes because he wanted to make the bill as palatable to as many members as possible. It won't get a final committee vote until at least next week.

The bill would expand on a 2006 law that prohibits drivers under
18 years old from talking on the phone, except in an emergency and
while talking to a parent or emergency personnel.

Dannelly's measure would apply to all drivers in vehicles with motors running, although adults using handsfree phones would be exempt.

Committee members cited studies showing that other forms of distraction -- eating, adjusting the radio or daydreaming -- also are

On a voice vote, the committee narrowly approved an amendment
reducing the penalty from $100 to $25 and deleting the obligation
to pay court costs.

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  • by betty Location: cortland on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:48 AM
    I just don't understand what in the world is so important that you have to talk while driving. Pull over to the side of the road if it's that important. Safe a live.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:26 AM
    Wonder how much influence the communication industry lobby has to do with the change in posture of our lawmakers?
  • by Barbara Location: Beulaville NC on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:15 AM
    Why don't you spend as much time on our economy crisis as you do on nit picking?Get to the real problem. Driving drunk? The cops are just as guilty as anyone else on talking on cell phones. Make examples out of the drunk drivers, and ones with no license, or insurance.You or I can call the police and tell them you know of someone who has no drivers license, or insurance, and they won't do a thing about it.You can pass someone on the hyway, and you are going 55 and when they pass you they are out of sight in 1/2 minute. Call 911. It won't do any good. Where are they at when we need them?What we do in the privacy of our vehicle is our responsibility.If we abuse this make the fine worth thinking about. Texting?Yes. You cannot focus on drivng and the other driver while texting. Bottom line. Our government and our jucicial system has gone to the dogs.
  • by Outraged Location: NC on Feb 18, 2009 at 04:53 AM
    All I can say is if I am driving and some nut case hits me and hurts me my family or my car, thier will be a very very high price to pay!!! Not such a good idea to talk and drive at the same time. They need to get a lawn chair and sit near the highway and watch the nut cases driving and talking. They drive like they are drunk and have not sense of speed. Geesh, what a loopy system we have. I suppose after one of them get hit by a cell phoned driver, then they will get the Message loud and clear.
  • by Motorist Location: NC on Feb 18, 2009 at 01:59 AM
    99% of the police I see riding down the road are talking on their cell phones!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 17, 2009 at 07:19 PM
    Golden pockets are available here. To talk, or not to talk..The choice is yours...I'm all ears...
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Feb 17, 2009 at 06:06 PM
    You lawmakers are a joke. thats JOKE.

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