- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A measure that would’ve banned things like sending emails and searching the Web while driving won’t advance in the Legislature.

The Daily Herald reports ( https://bit.ly/1aL1sAj ) that Senate Bill 5656, which would expanded Washington’s ban on driving while texting or talking on a hand-held cellphone, faced bipartisan opposition in the House.

“The votes just weren’t there,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee.

Members understood the dangers posed by distracted drivers, but Clibbon said “when you go to someone and say you’re not going to be able to pick up your phone in the car you get a different reaction.

Under the bill drivers would have no longer been able to hold, read from or manually enter information into a wireless communications device while driving except in emergencies or if the vehicle was pulled off the road and not moving. The ban extended to when a car is stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.

“I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, the bill’s prime sponsor. “In my research about the necessity of this bill, I came to know what a real threat to our youth distracted driving has become.”

In 2007, Washington was one of the first states to enact a ban on texting or talking on a hand-held cellphone while operating a moving vehicle. Thirteen states now outlaw use of hand-held phones, and 44 states bar sending texts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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