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Cell-phone ban for drivers falls flat



Published: Thu, July 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some legislators call the ordinance over-regulation that is unenforceable.

WARREN -- What's been driving Councilman Ron White to propose a cell-phone ban for motorists apparently didn't catch on with his colleagues.

Council members defeated White's plan by a 9-1 vote Wednesday.

White, D-4th, cast the sole supportive vote.

Dan Polivka, D-at large, has said the legislation was too narrowly focused and that the city should wait to see if the state or federal governments step in to legislate cell phone use.

White said that could take too long.

Similar proposals: The National Conference of State Legislators says similar bans are being proposed in 40 states, though none have passed.

At least 12 communities have established a ban on using cell phones while driving, including New York City. Brooklyn, Ohio, was the first to implement one in 1999.

Some Warren lawmakers said the ban would be unenforceable and constitutes over regulation.

Susan Hartman, D-7th, said there's no indication that cell phone use has caused accidents in Warren.

The police department is still understaffed and has other priorities, Hartman said, adding that the ban could violate motorists' constitutional rights.

Virginia Bufano, D-1st, has said police have more pressing matters like drug offenses and other traffic violations.

White maintains the issue is one of safety and that he's almost been in a few accidents because other drivers were distracted by cell phones.




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