Louisiana House Rejects Trucker Cell Phone Ban

May 11, 2010

We’ve talked a lot here about the bans on in-vehicle cell phone use that are materializing in many states.  But here’s a story about one state that has turned down such a ban based on what they say is unfair treatment:

The Louisiana House sidetracked a bill May 6 that would have banned truck drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones while driving, according to BusinessWeek.

The proposal failed in a 49-41 vote on the House floor. It needed 53 votes to pass. The original version of the legislation applied to only commercial drivers, but was amended in committee to apply everyone on the road. Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans, proposed an amendment that made the bill again apply only to truck drivers, and that change passed.

Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, opposed the change, favoring a ban that would not single-out truck drivers and would instead apply to everyone.

Meanwhile, a bill with the more sweeping ban sought by Barrow that would prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones was shelved in the House May 6 after it was amended to making phone use a secondary offense, rather than a primary one. That would mean police couldn’t stop drivers just because they see them talking on the phone.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, declined to take a final vote on the measure after the change was made. Badon could bring the bill back up later.

Both Stiaes’ and Badon’s bills would allow drivers to talk using hands-free devices.

[via Automotive Fleet]

Photo courtesy of dchousegrooves under the Creative Commons License