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Oregon aims to cut car insurance claims with cell phone law

Oregon could soon join other states in banning drivers from using handheld cell phones. Insurance experts say drivers distracted by cell phones cause an increase in car insurance claims.

The state senate approved legislation to require drivers to use hands-free devices when operating a motor vehicle. Six states, numerous municipalities and the District of Columbia prohibit use of a hand-held phone while driving.

"This is a common sense safety issue," said Senator Ginny Burdick. "A ban on handheld cell phones will reduce traffic accidents, fatalities and protect Oregonians."

Exceptions are provided for public safety and emergency personnel, persons operating a vehicle within the scope of employment, persons engaged in certain one-way communications and FCC-licensed amateur radio and two-way radio operators.

More than a dozen states have implemented laws prohibiting drivers from sending text messages behind the wheel.

A New Jersey legislator has proposed a law that would prohibit the manual operation of global positioning system devices by the operator of a moving motor vehicle.

New Jersey has already banned drivers from text messaging and using cell phones without a hands-free device.

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