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D.C. Motorists Must Hang Up Cell Phones

City Council Approves Measure Banning Hand-Held Phones While Driving

By Chevetta Gilmore

Associated Press

Tuesday, January 6, 2004; 2:29 PM

Drivers in the nation's capital will have to hang up their cell phones or use a hands-free device under a measure approved Tuesday by District of Columbia lawmakers.

The D.C. Council gave final approval to a bill banning drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones while behind the wheel. Exemptions would be made for emergency situations. Council members preliminarily approved the measure last month.

"We've all seen a lot of near misses as people are chatting away on their phones," said Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, R-At-Large, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "We're a very densely populated city and we need to protect our pedestrians, whether they be our residents or our visitors."

About 572,000 people call the district home, though the population nearly doubles each weekday as commuters pour in from the Virginia and Maryland suburbs.

Enforcement is expected to begin in July, with violators facing a $100 fine, though no points would be assessed against their drivers license. Mayor Anthony A. Williams indicated last month that he would sign the bill, and would expect police to enforce it.

That part troubles Councilman Jim Graham, D-Ward One, who cast the lone vote against the bill.

"I'm concerned about the diversion of police energy. And I'm concerned about asking our police officers to patrol and ticket people driving while having a hand-held cell phone," Graham said.

One day before the expected council vote, a crime emergency the city's police chief declared in August expired.

New York has banned use of hand-held cell phones while driving since 2001, when it became the first state to do so.

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I hate to sound bitchy, but I hate it when I see a crappy driver and then see that this very same crappy driver is chatting away on a cell phone...:rolleyes:

And this has NOTHING to do with the fact that I still don't have a new phone, nothing at all ;)

But yah, if you gotta talk, atleast get a handsoff thingiemabob! :tongue:

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Originally posted by tinybutterfli

No, I was just hoping to get my frozen pizza date before you left :tongue:

hey dickhead, how do I quote two different posts?? BTW, I doubt the date will work, everything is packed and I'm gonna be busy when I get home tom. Soooo see you in richmond

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