East Texans React to Cell Phone Ban Bill - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/04/03 - Tyler

East Texans React to Cell Phone Ban Bill

A new bill in the Texas Legislature proposes up to a $200 fine for chatting on the go. The bill would allow the use of hands free devices. But, many people don't want the government to take the "mobile" out of mobile phone.

Pay phones are slowly becoming more and more rare as cell phones become more and more popular. Gloria Johnston of Tyler told Channel 7 she feels like everyone is spending more time talking, and less time watching the road. "They'll be swinging a left hand turn and you wonder how are they making it on the curve like that and still talking on the cell phone."

Just a few minutes later, Darron Henderson drove into a gas station on South Broadway talking on his cell phone. "Communication's key. If you know how to drive and talk at the same time, you can't go wrong. But, some people do have that problem of talking and concentrating actually."

So, the state wants to make talking on the phone while driving illegal, unless you use a hands free device.  Taylor White sells headsets and speakerphones with Absolute Wireless in Tyler. "If you have a headset on your head, or a hands free system, both hands can be on the wheel and you can do whatever you want to. And, you're not at an unusual posture that way where you're swerving either way too." While requiring talkers to use headsets might mean more business for White he doesn't think it's the legislature's responsibility. "If they're going to do that then they might as well say you can't change a radio station, you can't do a lot of things while you're driving that distract you."

A study out of Pennsylvania last year says talking on the cell phone while driving causes fewer accidents than distractions outside of the car, or adjusting the radio, or talking to someone in the back seat. But, proponents say anything that makes driving safer is worth dialing up.

So far, New York is the only state to ban the use of cell phones. But legislation is pending in California as well as Texas. How do you feel about the issue. Should cell phones be banned? Tell us what you think by answering our poll question at www.KLTV.com.

Stephen Parr, reporting.

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