RI lawmakers consider banning cell phone use while driving

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a bill that would ban handheld cell phone use while driving.

Should the law pass, drivers who hold their phone up to their ear while driving would face a $100 fine. Bluetooth, ear pieces, and other hands-free devices would still be permitted, along with phone use for emergency calls.

Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont have already banned handheld phone use while driving. Massachusetts only bans use for drivers who are under 18.

Texting while driving is already illegal under Rhode Island law.

Similar legislation has passed in the Senate in April.

The bill has support from Governor Gina Raimondo, as well as State Police Colonel Ann Assumpico and Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti.

Two months ago, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a statement from his spokesperson that he had not yet taken a position on the bill.