Drivers won’t be pulled over for making calls any time soon, judging from a vote in the state House this evening.
The House scaled back a bill to remove the part of the measure that would have made talking on a handheld phone while driving a primary offense. It would remain a a secondary offense, meaning police can’t ticket drivers for it unless they have been pulled over for another infraction, like speeding.
The House did agree to make text-messaging while driving a primary offense.
Rep. Dan Roach proposed the amendment on the House floor after it failed in the Transportation Committee. He says that while texting is clearly dangerous, talking on the phone is comparable to other, legal distractions like eating or talking to a passenger.
The Senate passed the tougher bill but is likely to accept the House change, since its main backer said today she would take “half a loaf” and try next year to get the whole thing.
“I’m disappointed, needless to say, ” Sen. Tracey Eide said today. “People need to realize you’re putting everybody’s lives in danger when you pick up that cell phone.”
Still, she said: “It’s the art of compromise here.”