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State legislative panel approves bill to ban handheld cell phone use while driving

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a new legislative attempt to ban handheld phones while Utahns are driving and State Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, wants to mandate hands-free cell phone use behind the wheel.

“My intent has always been to pass something that would improve public safety because people are dying from these accidents,” she said. “Children are dying, being hit by distracted drivers.”

Most members of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee said the bill will stem that, and help police identify distracted drivers.

But state Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, disagrees, “If somebody’s weaving, if somebody’s distracted, throw the book at them. I don’t care what they were doing,” Daw said. “This bill just seems like it’s appeasing a perception, not actually moving the needle on making things safer.”

Moss says 16 states have prohibited handheld phones while driving.