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Distracted driving bills clear House

Rep. Matt Koleszar
Rep. Matt Koleszar

The state House approved legislation Tuesday to address drivers using handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel

The legislation would allow people to use hands-free technology while driving. But drivers caught holding a phone or a tablet could be required to take a safety course after three offenses. That’s less onerous than the initial proposed penalty of a suspended license, which was too much for many lawmakers.

Democratic Representative Matt Koleszar is a bill sponsor. He said sending drivers back to school was the compromise.

“They were concerned about the punitive measure of suspension of license. When we changed that to education that brought a lot of the members back on board. That was the big sticking point issue.”

Some lawmakers still had concerns a new law would be used to target younger or minority drivers. The bills now go to the state Senate.

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