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New state push to ban use of cell phones by young drivers

A driver uses a cell phone in a

A driver uses a cell phone in a 2009 file photo. (Credit: AP)

There's a renewed push at the State Capitol for a bill that would prohibit the use of cellphones -- including hands-free devices -- by drivers who hold learner's permits.

The State Senate passed the measure Thursday, and lawmakers expect it to be in the mix of legislation as they move to the homestretch of the 2013 legislative session.

The primary sponsor, Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset), said the ban would help remove distractions that could lead to accidents.

"Young and inexperienced drivers . . . need their full attention on the road and for the task of becoming a responsible driver," Marcellino said in a statement.

"Even the best teenage drivers don't have the judgment that comes with experience. Until a new driver has some skill and experience, the use of cellphones while driving should be banned."

Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly. Legislators are slated to conclude the session June 20.

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