ABC6 Exclusive: RI State Police propose driver cell phone ban - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


ABC6 Exclusive: RI State Police propose driver cell phone ban

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

People chatting on their cell phones while driving, could soon be a thing of the past in Rhode Island.

The head of the RI State Police telling ABC6 exclusively, that he will ask the General Assembly, to outlaw making or taking phone calls behind the wheel.

"I think it can make a difference. We are talking about lives. We're not just talking about a motor vehicle violation, or a ticket. We are talking about saving someone's life and I don't think there could be a better message than passing a law to keep someone safe," said Col. Steven O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

The law would have one exception - if you used a hands–free device like a Bluetooth head set, drivers could still talk on cell phones.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said "This is not the first time Rhode Island has tried to ban talking on a cell phone while driving. The General Assembly passed a ban a dozen years ago, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Lincoln Almond."

Almost everyone we spoke with liked the proposed cell phone ban.

Lucy Cantu of West Warwick drives a lot with her two little kids.

"I think having the cell phone is kind of a distraction. You know I think it will keep people safer," said Cantu.

I'm from California and they ban cell phone use in California – texting and calling and I think it's done a lot especially with teens," said driver Joshua Bronk, who supports the cell phone ban.

In fact we only found one person who said drivers should be allowed to use cell phones.

"As long as its being used responsibly and with consideration for others on the road then I don't think it would be necessary for a complete ban," said Celeste who opposes the cell phone ban.

"If it's the fear of getting a ticket that stops someone from doing it, then so be it," said State Police Col. O'Donnell.

State police say banning driver cell calls will make the roads safer for all.

The legislation will be introduced when the general Assembly convenes in January. Right now only 12 states ban drivers from hold and talking on cell phones.


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