House introduces bill calling for ban on holding phones while driving

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that legislation introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives may ban drivers from even holding a cell phone while behind the wheel. The Safe Drivers Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, aims to prevent all drivers from holding any mobile device while operating a vehicle by directing the Department of Transportation to enact standards to prohibit the behavior. McCarthy said that making phone calls, texting or using apps is just as dangerous as drunk driving and much more prevalent.

The legislation incorporates provisions for a Department of Transportation study on whether or not talking on the phone at all poses a serious safety risk. The findings would be reported in two years time, at which time adjustments to the measure might be considered.

Meanwhile, drivers would still be allowed to use hands-free devices for mobile communication. Additionally, certain emergency situations would exempt drivers from penalty if caught using a phone while driving.

The Detroit Free Press says that presently, just nine states already ban drivers from holding a phone while driving.

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