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Jason Carroll: New York state to ban cell phone use while driving



Jason Carroll is a CNN correspondent in New York.

Q: How did legislation in the New York State Assembly to ban cell phone use while driving come about?

Carroll: The current bill that's going to be passed because a Brooklyn New York State Assemblyman Feliz Ortiz saw an accident involving a woman using a cell phone, and he decided this was the last straw. From that point he made it his mission to get some legislation through the state to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. That's why we have the bill that's going to be signed into law.

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CNN's Jason Carroll reports on New York state's ban on driving while talking on cell phones (June 25)

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Q: When and how will the law go into effect? How will it be enforced?

Carroll: It will go into effect November 1 of this year if everything goes as scheduled. Officers will start handing out warnings if they see you using a hand-held device. This is only for hand-held cell phones, it does not apply to hand-free cell phones, which are okay. They will start issuing warnings, and on December 1, they'll start issuing tickets. As to how they enforce it, it's going to be the same way they enforce the seatbelt laws. If they see you doing it, they are going to pull you over and write an infraction. But you should know that the ticket can cost up to $100, but you can get out of the ticket in some situations if you can prove to the judge that since getting the ticket, you have gone out and purchased a hand-free phone.

Q: Are other states expected to follow and pass their own legislation on the issue?

Carroll: Absolutely - there are at least two dozen other states that are considering similar legislation.

Q: What has been the reaction from the cell phone companies?

Carroll: The cell phone companies have spent millions of dollars trying to prevent something like this from happening. They prefer education over legislation, but they realise there is also some money to be made, because they realise that all those people using hand-held cell phones are now going to be going out to buy hand-free phones.

Q: What has been the reaction from consumers and drivers?

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N.Y. Assembly nears vote on cell phone bill  

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Carroll: Many of the people that we've talked to seem to support this legislation. Quite a few folks who have been out on the road, have seen people driving erratically and have realised these people have been speaking on the phone, I think most of them realise it is a safety issue. So we seem to have found a lot of support from people we've seen who have been driving their cars.

Q: One final thought. You are speaking to us using a cell phone. Are you driving at the same time?

Carroll: [Laughs] I am driving, I am a passenger, and I am using a cell phone! I'm not actually driving, but I'm in a car.






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