House approves cell phone ban bill

RI Statehouse

The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill to ban all non-hands-free cell phone use in the state.

The bill now goes to the Senate. {}{}{}

If approved, the measure would take effect June 1, 2017.

Senator Susan Sosnowski (D - South Kingstown, New Shoreham) sponsored the bill. Violators would be subject to a fine of $100, which can be suspended if the driver then shows that they've obtained a hands-free device.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said in 2011 that 10% of all drivers under 20 involved in fatal crashes were believed to be 'distracted' at the time of the crash. The bill does contain exceptions for public safety personnel, and emergency situations.