Bill to Require Phone-Talking Drivers to Have Ear Piece Advances

FEBRUARY 23, 2005 - Posted at 3:27 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Senate committee endorsed a scaled-back version of legislation today that once would have required motorists to use a hands-free device when using a cellular phone while driving.

The bill now would require that drivers using a cell phone have a hands-free device in their possession.  Violating the proposed new law would be a secondary offense, for which motorists could be fined $50 if caught when they are stopped for some other offense.

A representative of Cingular Wireless, which once opposed the legislation because it required carriers to sell the hands-free devices, told the Senate Public Transportation Committee that the company is now neutral on the measure because that mandate also was stricken.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)