Kentucky lawmaker once again files bill to ban cellphone use while driving

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 9:48 AM CST
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky lawmakers are heading home Friday after wrapping up the first part of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

When they come back in February, many issues remain to be resolved, including income tax reductions, possible legislation to allow medical marijuana, sports betting, reforms to juvenile justice and tweaks to the state budget.

One bill that could see some action this year deals with banning cellphone usage while driving.

Representative James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, says he’s filed this bill several times, but it’s failed to get much action. He hopes the brakes are not put on the bill that he says may curb accidents caused by distracted drivers talking or texting, or simply using their phones.

It is House Bill 12, or the Phone Down Kentucky Act.

Tipton says five of the seven states surrounding Kentucky have laws that ban cellphone use while driving and wants Kentucky to be next.

He says, with the increase of technology, it’s becoming more and more of a danger and distraction on the highways.

“And, essentially, what this law would do is prohibit the holding of a phone, or any type of device, on any part of your body. Basically, with the invention of technology, we have Bluetooth technology. Many use that option,” said Tipton.

Tipton says it’s easy for people to get lost in their phones while driving and it only takes a second for an accident to happen. He says there are penalties for first, second, and third offenses. If passed, it would take effect in January 2024.

Kentucky already has a law banning texting while driving, but Tipton says police say it is difficult to enforce.