Proposed Bill Bans Cell Phone Possession in Vehicles

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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. —  Just days after North Carolina Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson issued an injunction delaying the enforcement of Chapel Hill, N.C.’s ban on using a cell phone while in a vehicle, a new bill to amend title 23, United States Code, now threatens to restrict mobile phone usage nationwide.

The federal ban would include any usage, including hands-free devices such as headset or a speakerphone built into a car.  The proposed legislation further mandates that mobile phones be stored in the trunk, or other area inaccessible to the occupants.  It would be prohibited for drivers or passengers to possess cellular phones inside a vehicle at anytime, even while parked.

If the law passes, vehicles with integrated phone systems would be required to have them removed or disabled.

Soon to be Illegal?

After introducing the new bill on Monday, Congresswoman Debbie Polaski stated in a press conference that, “cell phone usage in vehicles causes injuries and deaths and it is time we saved some lives.”

Garry Sampson, owner of Sampson’s Towing & Recovery, sued the Town of Chapel Hill over the local ordinance stating that, “its tow truck operators must use their phones to respond to inquiries regarding vehicles that have been towed and need to be released, and to call the police department to report illegally parked vehicles that they have towed.”

In his order, Hudson found Sampson must be able to use a mobile phone to comply with the town’s current towing regulations and to perform his business. The N.C. Attorney General, Jerry Marstel, had also officially advised the town of Chapel Hill that the state, not the town, has the “preemptive authority to regulate cell phone use by motorists in North Carolina.”

While other municipalities around the country have proposed or enacted laws to regulate cell phone use while driving, Chapel Hill, N.C. was the first town to attempt a complete ban.

The National Traffic Safety Administration has stated that mobile phone usage while driving can delay reaction time similar to having a blood alcohol concentration of .16, which is double the legal limit in most states.

If passed, the new law would apply nationwide, superseding state regulations and making it illegal to have a cell phone inside the cabin area of a vehicle at anytime.


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    • Sally R on May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I heard they were planning to do this and I think it is a huge saftey risk to tell people they can not have a phone inside the car. What if there is an accident and they need to call for help and can’t get into the trunk?

    • Certainlym on May 9, 2012 at 8:22 am

    There is alot of interest in this bill. People say they want to use their phone in thier cars but nobody wants to be on the road with someone else using their phone.

    It’s like when you ask “are you a good driver” and everyone says “yes.” But then you ask “are most people good drivers” and everyone says “no!”

    • Bill on May 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Congresswoman Polaski has a history of getting these types of laws passed. I really think she’s not going to rest until everyone is sitting in a cardboard box.

    • Ormog on May 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    This is the start of the end of state\’s right, do NOT be deceived! Our current administration has been trying to bootstrap in some law to erase state\’s rights over various functions – and this is the one that will take the roads and turn them over to… well, think about it… a NATIONAL POLICE FORCE!

    The DHS just issued a purchase order for enough ammo to organize a what… A NEW POLICE FORCE OR ARMY! Look it up! Hundreds of millions of rounds!

    Then we have this new law, which will essentially allow the feds to take over all the roads that the states had policed w/ troopers and sheriffs….

    I guess we know where this is headed, MARTIAL LAW and a NATIONAL POLICE FORCE!

      • Blessed on June 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      That seems a little wacko.

    • Zero on May 10, 2012 at 11:45 am

    It not the cell phone that the issue it bad drivers.

    For one I\’d like to say if an emergency was to happen an ur phone in the trunk what good does that do for the people. Humanity built a world around communication to allow an easier but fast pace life style. To restrict all man capabilities due to some small factor of \”it\’s time to save lives\” goes against humanity progression.

    Maybe if people focus more on being careful than pointing dumb flaws we can actually make a difference just heard NJ outlawed texting while walking. What a crock these news laws are.

    • Sally Mander on May 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I jam for it.

    • Donald Jules on May 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

    This is an excellent idea.
    Two of my daughters friends were killed in an automobile accident where the other driver was on a hands free cell phone.

      • Blessed on June 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Service Smart on May 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    This is just another example of the govermnet doing whatever they want without any input from the public.

    • Grady Lin on May 17, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I am sick of these new rules. Everything is being outlawed.

    • Brian on May 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I am vehemently opposed to people texting while driving. In fact, I believe there should be jail time for that. Distracted driving causes more accidents than any anything else, except maybe falling asleep at the wheel.

    I could hardly believe it when a nearby town was debating whether or not texting while driving should be allowed! The answer should be obvious.
    his is an excellent idea.

    • Mason on May 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    It will be DENIED!

    • Swordom on May 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I am going to keep using my phone in the car even if this passes.

    • Jim on May 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Canada looks better all the time ! If you vote for this 1/2 black bastard–you deserve what you get!

    • Bman on May 21, 2012 at 6:07 am

    The problem is that laws are already in place which set strict limits on what people can and can\’t do with their phones. The laws aren\’t enforced very much. People disregard these laws. Enforce the laws that are already in place, make examples of people who flagrantly disregard these laws and phone usage will go down. This is like banning people from entering a bank because someone might rob it.
    Sounds like this person likes to hear herself talk.

    • Christine on May 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    i guess the ONLY advantage would be if you get abducted and get thrown in your trunk

    • Careful Thinker on May 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

    So, does this mean that kids are going to be banned from riding in the car because they are distracting, pets are distracting, other people are distracting, surrounding vehicles with idiotic drivers are distracting, people rubber necking because they see cops or someone pulled over or an accident are distracting. That\’s like saying, \’lets ban guns because there have been so many shootings\’, \’lets ban the radio because the music is to loud\’, you catch what I\’m throwing? You cannot make everyone suffer because of what a handful of people do. There have been more deaths caused by drunk drivers than people talking on the cell, but you don\’t see alcohol being banned and bars being closed down do you? No. Use your head for something other than to take up space between your shoulders, ya dig?

    • Melinda on May 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I have a truck that doesnt have a trunk. That means I have to leave myiphone at home? I don’t think so!!!

    What are they goign to think of next? this is ridiculous.

    • Surplus Eddie on May 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t see how it would matter to anyone if I had my phone off yet still in my car. If something happened, couldn’t the cops just check the records?

    People’s phones are going to get messed up in the trunk.

    • Nytro on May 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Study after study has shown that people get in accidents during distracted driving. When will you people get it through your thick heads that just because you WANT to do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD?

    • greenmachine on June 1, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Another great movement coming out of California. Are you going to ban my Big Mac next? This is getting ridiculous. I have a van and I don’t even have a trunk. Does this mean I would have to leave my phone at home???

    • Upstairs Downstairs on June 3, 2012 at 3:04 am

    I can see this happening. It makes sense that they want the phone locked away in a trunk or something. Otherwise someone could just say to the cop that they just looked at the phone but weren’t using it.

    • Phill R on June 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Plane and simple cellphones + cars kill people. HJave you ever been behind someone distracted in the car? I for one would wlecome this with open arms.

    • Judy Morton on June 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    good my husband was hit while a woman hit him while talking on a cellphone driving fast and he was at a stop.

    • Jill on June 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Another overreaching politician trying to get in everyone’s business!!! How am I hurting anyone if I want to talk on my phone when my car is parked?

    So if it’s raining and I have to call a tow truck, this means I have to stand outside my car to make the call?

    • Cosby on June 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    What are they going to do to me if I am driving a bunch of friends and one of them has a cellphone in their pocket that I don’t know about?

    I see a app in the near future that has a dump text button that erases any texts were made in the last hour or whatever so when the police check, it looks like no texts were made before getting into the car. Any geeks out there looking to make money, this would do it!

      • Charles on October 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

      When it comes to texting, the cops always turn to the cell phone companies, and once you send a text, they know about it, and that record doesn’t get erased for a few years or so. The only way to not get caught texting while in a car is not to text.

      That said, while I know why they’re targetting passengers as well (“Can I use your phone, please?”), what if passengers independently text wihtout distracting the driver or become the go-to for phone conversations on the road, keeping the driver out of it? Or what if it’s someone like a cab or tow-truck driver or other on-call workers who MUST be reached on a moment’s notice (because for them time really does mean money–or the competition can steal their customers) and can’t depend on dwindling public phones?

      As for pulling over to use the phone, almost impossible on a freeway (where accident shoulders are infrequent and the nearest exit could be miles away or have no re-entry). At least cops and truck drivers are TRAINED to use their radio equipment.

    • Elifaza on June 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    an interesting article, I appreciate the heads up. Lord I hope this crazieness doesn’t become law!

    • Spelunker on June 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I heard an interview with Polaski talking about this on CNN and the only thing that stopped this from happening sooner was the cellular companies lobbiests. The big businesses do not care about safety.

    • Acira on June 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    thanks for the article. I am still going to use my cellphone in the car, lol.

    • Brian on June 14, 2012 at 5:54 am

    I just heard NJ outlawed texting while walking. What a crock these news laws are.

    • Daniele on June 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    This is messed up. I bet the politicians plan to keep using their phones in the cars. What about the police?


    I will keep using my phone.

    • RON on June 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    How difficult would it be for anyone wanting to make a call to pull over to the side of the road for the duration of the call….. Answering an incoming call while driving is one of the most dangerous things a sober driver can do.

    • Anonymous on August 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Another unconstitutional law? What a surprise.

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