PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Legislation before the Rhode Island General Assembly would make it illegal to drive while using a hand-held cellphone.
Violators would be subject to a $100 fine — though the penalty would be waived for first-time offenders who provide a receipt from the purchase of hands-free telephone equipment.
The ban wouldn't apply in the case of emergencies or when it came to public safety personnel, cab drivers or tow-truck drivers using phones for professional reasons.
States including Connecticut, California, New York and Illinois already ban hand-held cellphone use by all drivers. Rhode Island prohibits younger drivers from using hand-held devices. In addition, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Susan Sosnowski, a Democrat. A hearing on her proposal is scheduled Thursday at the Statehouse.