Senate Bill 317, Senate Bill 157 and House Bill 274 all carry language that deals with what is referred to as “reckless operation” in reference to cell phone use in vehicles.
Greg Ross, who operates Be-In-Touch, a multi-line wireless company on 11th Street in Portsmouth, says it just requires a common sense approach when it comes to driving and talking on your phone.
“You shouldn't do anything that constitutes a distraction when you're driving,” said Ross. “If you can't eat a cheeseburger, or change a tape while you are operating a motor vehicle, you shouldn't do it. The same goes for using cellular phones.”
Bill 317 would provide that a person's operation of a motor vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile or watercraft while using a phone generally constitutes recklessness for purposes of the offenses of aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Bill 157 also would create the offense of inattentive driving and would require the State Highway Patrol to compile monthly data and statistics on motor vehicle accidents in which phone use was a factor.
Ross said there are some safety measures motorists can take to minimize the distraction.
“Using a hands-free kit is one measure you can take,” said Ross. He also said that dialing seven to 10 numbers while controlling the steering wheel and watching the road can be difficult, so he recommends phones with voice-dialing systems, or the latest convenience and safety product on the market.
“There is also the new Blue Tooth technology that lets you utilize a wireless earphone so that you don't have to fumble with your phone,” he said.
HB 274 would ban the use of phones while driving unless the driver is reporting an emergency and would bar anyone with a temporary instruction permit from using a phone while driving.
The Associated Press contributed to the story. FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.