Cell phone ban hits N.Y. drivers

Posted 1:00 p.m. Nov. 15

By Rob Torte
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

Starting Nov. 1, drivers in New York state will begin the long commute to work minus one of their usual companions: the cell phone.

Driving while talking on a cell phone will earn drivers a $100 fine for violating a new cell phone ban. Drivers will be able to use hands-free devices, such as headsets and speakerphones, and may have their fine waived through March if they can prove to a judge that they own one of these hands-free devices, according to New York law enforcement officials.

Many states are considering following in New York’s footsteps. Some 42 states have bills in motion that would make driving with a cell phone illegal.

New York has six million of the nation’s cell phone users, a significant percentage of the national total number of cell phone users.

Andrea Davis, a student at Westfield State College in Massachusetts, said cell phones are useful but they “make for a dangerous situation” when used by motor vehicle operators.

She said drivers with cell phones tend to drive more poorly than other motorists.

The effectiveness of the ban is a source of contention. Opponents argue it will do little to stop the distraction of talking on phones, and government does not have the right to limit people’s behavior while driving.

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