The House took action today on its own version of a driving safety bill. The House version still needs to be reconciled with the Senate version.
Although there were many amendments offered, the House seemed eager to make progress on the issue.
The bill basically takes modest steps on two issues — distracted driving and driver competence.
As initially presented on the floor, the bill banned texting for all drivers and banned all cell phone use by drivers of buses and other public transit vehicles. It also banned all cell phone use by junior operators. By a vote of 91 to 66 the House approved an amendment banning all cell phone use other than hands-free devices for all drivers. I supported this amendment.
Penalties for adults include fines with impact on insurance rates; junior operators face license suspensions. Additionally, if a driver has an accident while using a prohibited device they will be deemed reckless and face additional penalties.
As to driver competence, it will require persons over 75 to renew their licenses in person (otherwise required for all drivers only every 10 years) and take a vision test. Additionally, the bill encourages physicians and other care givers to report drivers whose driving skills appear compromised. They are protected from liability for making reports (and for not making reports).
I was pleased to support this legislation.