Lawmakers debate talking and driving ban

Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2011

JUNEAU — Alaska state lawmakers are considering a proposed ban on cell phone use by motorists.

Originally scheduled to hear four separate bills on the issue, the House Transportation Committee heard two proposals Tuesday after two bills were withdrawn by their sponsors.

A proposal by Republican Rep. Cathy Muoz of Juneau would prohibit Alaskans from using cell phones while driving unless they were dealing with an emergency or using a hands-free device to manipulate the phone.

Another proposal by Rep. Berta Gardner, an Anchorage Democrat, would prohibit people under the age of 18 from using a phone while driving.

Democratic Rep. Max Gruenberg of Anchorage says a ban is necessary because of the number of accidents caused by drivers talking on their phones.

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