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A compromise bill advanced Wednesday that would stop a move to erase an anti-texting law that passed last year, and also halt an effort to allow use only of hands-free cellphones while driving.
The compromise, HB63, would allow one-touch use of hand-held mobile phones to make or receive phone calls, or to text by using voice commands.
The Senate Transportation Committee advanced it the full Senate on a 3-0 vote.
Its sponsor, Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, originally sought largely to erase the year-old law that banned any manipulation of cellphones while driving. Police requested the law because many people who were pulled over for illegal texting often claimed they were dialing instead, making it tough to enforce the texting ban.
Meanwhile, Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, author of last year's law, pushed to toughen it this year by proposing to ban all hand-held use of cell phones while driving, and allow only hands-free use.
Anderegg said Wednesday that their middle-ground compromise is an "incremental step forward to allow you to use your phone while driving." However, he predicted that the state eventually will move to ban all but hands-free cellphone use, but said allowing one-touch use is necessary for now with current technology.
The committee amended the bill to allow a maximum fine in cases where no injuries occur to $100 instead of $500. It also clarified that the bill does not ban use of two-way radios.