Panel endorses Indiana ban on drivers using handheld phones

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A push to combat distracted driving with a ban on the use of handheld cellphones has cleared its first hurdle toward becoming the law in Indiana. 

An Indiana House committee voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of the bill making cellphone use by all motorists illegal unless they’re using hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies. 

The state police superintendent says distracted driving was to blame in at least 860 injury crashes and 48 crashes with deaths across Indiana last year.

 The full House could vote on the proposal in the coming week.