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BILL BANNING HAND-HELD PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING ADVANCES IN STATE HOUSE

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The Tennessee House of Representatives has passed legislation that would ban motorists from using hand-held cellphones while driving.

Lawmakers voted 53-38 Wednesday after lengthy debate. Supporters called it a means to enhance safety; detractors warned of government overreach.

The measure now heads to the state Senate; if it passes, the bill will make its way to Governor Bill Lee’s desk for his signature.

If approved, those caught in violation of the law – which would go into effect in 2020 – would face a $100 fine. That amount could increase to $200 if an accident results from the violation.

The National Conference of State Legislators reports 16 states and the District of Columbia already prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices, including Georgia, which passed a similar law last year.

At present, use of hand-held cellphones is banned only in school zones in Tennessee.

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