Tags: May | Pass | Cell | Phone | Driving | Ban

NY May Pass Cell Phone Driving Ban

Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM

"There's been an explosion in the ownership and use of cell phones, " Pataki said. "Not only with experienced drivers but young kids who learn to drive at age 16 think it's cool to use one hand to drive and use the other to talk on the phone."

Pataki said that his statewide law would supersede driver cell phone bans already enacted in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester Counties. "The statewide law would eliminate a patchwork of cell phone bans throughout the state, " Pataki said.

Similar bans have already been enacted in 23 countries, including England, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Israel and Japan.

The governor also signed an executive order effective immediately, barring all state employees including state troopers from using state-issued handheld cell phones while driving. The order also prohibits the use of any handheld cell phone by a state employee driving a state vehicle.

"By signing this Executive Order today we are sending a message that the use of hand-held cell phones while driving presents an immediate danger that must be dealt with now," the governor said.

"By requiring drivers to put down their cell phones and pay attention to the road, we will help make our roads even safer and save more lives. I urge the legislature to take swift action to pass this common sense bill."

Pataki's proposals, along with the bills already introduced the legislature, allow drivers to use handheld cell phones only in an emergencies. However, drivers would be permitted to use phones in the car with head sets or speaker phones or "hands-free" units.

According to the national trade group, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, more than 85 percent of the 107 million people who subscribe to wireless services use their phones while driving. Opponents of the ban have said that cell phones users placed almost 100,000 emergency calls each day from motor vehicles and that cell phones can reduce emergency response times and it saves lives. They have also said that current laws already punish careless and reckless drivers and that talking on a cell phone is not more dangerous than eating, changing a CD or looking at a map while driving.

Pataki said he was confident the law could be enforced because New York has the lowest rate of alcohol related fatalities in the nation, second only to Utah and it has a much higher rate of seatbelt compliance than the national average, a rate that continues to increase as a result of new stricter laws and tougher enforcement.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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There's been an explosion in the ownership and use of cell phones, Pataki said. Not only with experienced drivers but young kids who learn to drive at age 16 think it's cool to use one hand to drive and use the other to talk on the phone. Pataki said that his...
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2001-00-15
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM
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