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6/2/2006
Kansas: Lawrence to Impose Total Cell Phone Ban
Lawrence, Kansas wants to issue $100 tickets to hands-free cell phone users.

Cell phone driver
No driver would be allowed to use a cell phone in Lawrence, Kansas under what could become the most restrictive cell phone ban in the country. If the Traffic Safety Commission adopts the proposal on June 5, even those using a hands-free device behind the wheel would receive a $100 ticket. The City Commission would also need to approve the measure. A less restrictive ban in New York has generated more than $60 million in revenue.

"This is going to become more of a problem instead of less than a problem," Commissioner Robert Hagen said of a first draft of the proposal considered in early May that would have only banned cell phone use for younger drivers. "I'd be more comfortable if this was handled on a state level, but I don't think that is going to happen."

Commissioners voted 6-0 to ask the city engineer to draft the stronger language that would ban all cell phone use.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has created studies that claim to show accidents increase when motorists use cell phones. IIHS has used these studies to lobby for bans such as the one under consideration in Lawrence. For every traffic ticket issued that carries points against a driver's license, the insurance companies that fund IIHS collect additional money from increased premiums.

The National Motorists Association (NMA) strongly disagrees with the ban ordinances. "What we have consistently found is that in the areas that have passed a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving is that there is no increase in safety," explained NMA spokesman Eric Skrum.



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