A bill proposing a ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving is defeated in the House Transportation Committee.

Bill author Austin Badon, of New Orleans, says his bill would mandate use of a hands-free device, like a BlueTooth or speaker phone, while driving.  Badon’s bill would make violating the cell phone law a secondary offense; meaning police could only ticket you for it AFTER stopping you for something else. It was opposed by his fellow New Orleans delegate Jeff Arnold, who says it’s un-enforceable and already covered under ”careless operation” laws.

Badon says he’d prefer making the bill a primary offense, but wants to get it in state statutes in any form. He says restricting hand-held cell phone use is a matter of public safety. Arnold says the state cannot legislate common sense, and if people want to talk on phones while driving, they will. He says the public safety argument is weak. (The committee had their own concerns. The measure failed by an 8-to-5 vote.)