ALBANY, NY — New York state has become the first state to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. The bill passed the state’s Assembly by a vote of 125 to 19.

There has been a growing movement across the country to bar cell phone usage in vehicles, which a number of people view as a safety hazard. Although 41 other states have proposed similar bans, none have passed.

Proponents of the New York law were aided by local bans in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, and by the support of Verizon Wireless for state legislation. The new law will carry a fine of up to $100.

Publication date:07/02/2001