Bill to ban handheld phone use while driving passes Tennessee House

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A bill banning most cell phone use while driving took could soon be one of Tennessee’s new rules of the road.

The measure passed the State House in a relatively close vote. The bipartisan bill, which is up for a vote in the Senate next week, will likely face similar circumstances there as well. 

“The way I look at it, if this bill saves lives, it’s worth it,” said House sponsor Rep. John Holsclaw. “It’s pretty simple.” 

A few years back, Rep. Holsclaw successfully passed a cell phone use ban for drivers in school zones. Now he wants to ban all handheld cellphone usage on every road in the state. 

“Tennessee — sad to say — ranks No. 1 in […] deaths due to distracted driving,” said Holsclaw, citing an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.  

The new bill would allow for hands-free devices to be used while driving. Violators would have to pay a $50-dollar fine if cited, but not right away. First-time offenders would be sent to driving school.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 on-air and online for updates. 

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