Tennessee gov to mull ban on handheld phones while driving

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee will decide whether Tennessee will ban the use of handheld electronic devices, including cellphones, while driving.

The Senate voted 23-7 on Tuesday to send Lee the bill. The House previously cleared it in a 53-38 vote.

Supporters in the GOP-supermajority Legislature touted the bill as a safety measure, while opponents argued it’s a government overreach.

Violators would face up to a $50 fine. That amount could reach $100 if the violation causes an accident or $200 for violations in construction or school zones. The bill would take effect in July.

Sixteen states and Washington D.C. prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia passed a similar law last year.

Currently, hand-held cellphone use is banned in Tennessee school zones.

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