June 2, 2005

Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore John McKinney (R-Fairfield) voted today for legislation to ban the use of hand held cellular telephones while operating a motor vehicle. The legislation establishes a $100 penalty for driving while using a hand held cell phone, but still allows motorists to use their cell phones with “hands-free” adaptors.

Senator McKinney has long supported the cell phone ban legislation, voting for it several times as a member of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee and proposing it as an amendment on the floor of the Senate.

“This bill has been a long time coming, but I couldn’t be more pleased that its day has finally arrived in the state of Connecticut,” said Senator McKinney. “This common sense legislation will improve the safety of our roads by allowing us to curb the ever growing problem of motorists driving while distracted by cell phones. Sometimes new technologies bring changes in our way-of-life that cannot be foreseen, and I think most of the people in Connecticut agree that it is time we let our traffic laws catch up with the reality of life in a world with cell phones.”

Senator McKinney pointed out that many of the past objections and concerns about the ramifications of this bill have been refuted with the successful passage of the similar legislation in New York State.

“We have seen in New York that this bill has not been an unreasonable burden and it has not hindered people who need to conduct business on the phone,” said Senator McKinney. “While this bill will not solve all the problems surrounding distracted driving, it is a crucial step in our ongoing effort to make the roads safer.”
The bill has now passed both the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature in order to become law.