Indiana panel backs ban on drivers using handheld phones

Phone. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

A proposal to ban drivers from using handheld cellphones on Indiana roads is advancing in the state Legislature.

A state Senate committee voted 8-1 Tuesday to endorse the bill that only permits cellphone use with hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies. Tina Smith of Indianapolis testified from a wheelchair about how she and her husband had stopped their motorcycle along a road when they were hit by a minivan whose driver was looking at a cellphone. Each lost a leg in the crash.

Smith echoed other supporters of a ban who compared it to the impact of speed limits and laws requiring seat belt use on making highways safer.