Legislation would crack down on cell phone use while driving
Bill would apply to almost all electronic devices
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Representative James Tipton is working to advance legislation aimed at combating distracted driving on Kentucky roads. Tipton’s HB 258 would limit how drivers use a cell phone or other communication devices while behind the wheel.
“Too many individuals get seriously hurt because someone takes their eyes off the road,” said Tipton. “It may seem small, just sending a text or checking social media, but the consequences are real and potentially fatal.”
The measure only allows for the hands-free use of a personal device. It also makes it illegal for drivers to use or hold their device in their hands when driving. However, there are exceptions made for single-swipe actions like navigation programs or answering phone calls.
The new law would apply to paging devices; text-messaging devices; stand-alone computers; tablets; laptops; notebook computers; personal digital assistants; global positioning system receivers; telephone; devices capable of displaying a video, movie, broadcast television image, or visual images; Any substantially similar wireless device that is used to initiate or receive communication, information, or data; and cellular telephones.
Several industry leaders and community advocates praise the proposed law and its impact on roadway safety throughout the Commonwealth.
“Technology can be a very useful tool for drivers, but when it takes a driver’s eyes off the road, it can be deadly. Requiring the hands-free use of a cell phone or other devices while driving is the best way to protect Kentuckians from distracted drivers,” said Mark Treesh, Executive Director of the Insurance Institute of Kentucky. “Many surrounding states have already taken this step or are considering it, and Kentucky should be next. We support the passage of HB 258.”
“Distracted driving is a deadly hazard on our roadways. It has been exacerbated by an expanding array of digital communication and entertainment options,” said Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “Kentucky House Bill 258 addresses this danger by updating state law to include curbing distracting viewing such as video chatting, streaming, and broadcasting video. The bill also retains lifesaving provisions already enacted into law to restrict texting and use by novice teen drivers while adding a ban on handheld use. Increases in crash deaths on Kentucky roadways over the last two years compel the commonsense improvements in HB 258. We urge the state legislature to advance this lifesaving bill with urgency to protect Kentucky families and visitors.”
“Over the past decade or so we have seen an increase in motorcycles involved in rear-end collisions,” said Jay Huber, from the Kentucky Motorcycle Association. “While sitting at a red light or other traffic slow-down, vehicles are running into the rear of motorcycles at an increasing rate. While it is not the only cause, the use of phones and other distracting devices in a vehicle is a major contributor to this disturbing trend. For this reason, we support HB 258.”