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Tennessee House advances hand-held phone ban while driving

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee House has advanced legislation banning motorists from holding cellphones while driving.

House lawmakers voted 53-38 on Wednesday after debating the measure at length.

Supporters argued the bill is needed to enhance safety while critics warned the bill was a potential government overreach. The bill still must clear the Senate before it can go to the governor’s desk.

If approved, violators would face up to a $100 fine. That amount could go up to $200 if the violation results in an accident. The bill would take effect in 2020.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Georgia passed a similar law last year.

Currently, hand-held cellphone use is banned in Tennessee school zones.

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