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Few gripes over limits on driver cellphone use
Bingham, vice president of Goodale's Bike Shop in Concord, Nashua and Hooksett, said it's difficult to argue with customers who tell him they won't ride on New Hampshire's roads. "They have a fear of riding outside because of distracted drivers and too many people texting or using their handheld electronic devices," he said.
All of this is welcome news to Bingham, who testified in support of the bill.
"Over the last five years, we are selling fewer youth bikes," he said, "and I have heard the comments from customers that they really don't feel that the roads are safe to take kids out on for bike rides."
"The governor believes that we must continue to find ways to improve the safety of our roads by reducing distracted driving," Hinkle said. "She appreciates the Legislature's focus on the issue and will closely review the bill as it reaches her desk."
"What it does restrict is the most dangerous driving behavior, which is having your head down and engaging in hand-held manipulation of electronic devices using your fine-motor skills."
Drivers would be allowed to use one hand to transmit or receive messages on a two-way radio and to use hands-free electronic devices. The measure also does not preclude using one hand "to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of the telephone."
Shapiro uses a Bluetooth earbud for his own personal phone, and a state police-issued speaker box for his cruiser. He said law enforcement officers will not be exempt from the new law.
"It's incumbent upon us to lead the way in doing the right thing."
"I honestly never use my phone while driving," she said.
"I'm going to have to get one of those Bluetooth things or upgrade my car," she said. (See related story.)
Twelve other states ban use of hand-held electronic devices while driving; 42 ban texting while driving.
Shapiro said every state is dealing with the same problem of distracted driving. "Everyone is trying to come to grips with doing it the safest way possible without restricting connectivity."
For Rep. Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth, it's been a decade-long fight to ban cellphones while driving. She said she's "elated" that her bill is poised to become law.
The 78-year-old great-grandmother said she pulls over when she needs to make or take a call. "Because I cannot multi-task like that," she said.
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