From the Arkansas Statehouse...

No hands-free necessary, for now.

In Cell Phone Restrictions, Kim Hendren on 2 February 2009 at 2:07 pm

A bill that would require all drivers to use a hands-free device while talking on a cell phone failed to get out of the Senate Transportation Committee today. The bill, which Sen. Kim Hendren sponsored, was the most restrictive of four cell-phone matters the committee considered.

Three bills made it to the Senate floor:  One outlaws texting while driving, and two similar measures place restrictions on cell-phone use by teen motorists. The Senate now must decide between a bill that bans cell phone use behind the wheel until the age of 18 and another, already passed in the House, that contains that provision as well as a requirement that drivers use only hands-free from 18-20.

The only no vote on the teen-talking bills came from Sen. Larry Teague.

Committee members appeared cool to Sen. Hendren’s hands-free proposal, which would have applied to all drivers. The bill failed to receive a motion, which means that it will remain on the committee schedule.  Sen. Hendren said he might reintroduce the measure later this session if other cell-phone restrictions become law.

If Arkansas were to pass a hands-free requirement, it would be only the sixth state to do so. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, a non-profit group that tracks traffic-safety issues, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington have a hands-free law.  Teen bans are more widespread: 17 states have restrictions on cell-phone use by young drivers.

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