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Are Tougher Cellphone Laws on the Way?

A measure has been approved that makes it easier to convict drivers of vehicular homicide or assault by auto when they kill or injure someone while using a cellphone.

Distracted Driving
Flickr User Viviandnguyen

The Assembly passed the measure Thursday by a 79-0 vote. The legislation classifies the illegal use of a hand-held cellphone as driving recklessly, one of the factors in finding a person guilty of vehicular homicide or assault.

Lawmakers say it’s difficult to hold drivers criminally accountable when they kill or injure someone while using a cellphone.

Vehicular homicide is generally punishable by imprisonment up to ten years, and a fine up to $150,000. The punishment for assault by auto ranges from six months in prison and a $1,000 fine to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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