Apr 27, 2010 5:45 PM by Letitia Walker
Two bills that would ban the use of handheld cell phones while
driving breezed out of the House Transportation Committee Tuesday
Both would allow drivers to talk using hands-free devices.
One measure (House Bill 863), sponsored by Rep. Charmaine
Stiaes, D-New Orleans, originally applied only to commerical
drivers but was amended to apply to everyone on the road. The other
bill (House Bill 1235) was sponsored by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New
The House committee has approved a similar bill for the past two
years, Badon said, but this year there is a "new carrot dangling
out there" of $94 million in federal money that is available to
states that ban cell phone use while driving by this summer.
Traffic fatalities involving cell phones are on the rise in
Louisiana, claiming 26 lives in the last two years, according Bobby
Breland of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
The bills head next to the full House for debate. If the
proposals pass there, they face tough battles in the Senate, which
has killed similar measures for the last two years.