RI bill would restrict cellphone use while driving

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Legislation before the Rhode Island General Assembly would make it illegal to drive while using a hand-held cellphone.

Violators would be subject to a $100 fine - though the penalty would be waived for first-time offenders who provide a receipt from the purchase of hands-free telephone equipment.

The ban wouldn’t apply in the case of emergencies or when it came to public safety personnel, cab drivers or tow-truck drivers using phones for professional reasons.

States including Connecticut, California, New York and Illinois already ban hand-held cellphone use by all drivers. Rhode Island prohibits younger drivers from using hand-held devices. In addition, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Susan Sosnowski, a Democrat. A hearing on her proposal is scheduled Thursday at the Statehouse.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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