Starting Monday, young drivers in Colorado will be banned from talking on cell phones when they're behind the wheel. It's a small step Colorado and some other states are taking in hopes of promoting safety without upsetting people who want to keep talking and driving.
In Colorado, it's one of more than a dozen new laws that go into effect Monday. It affects teens with restricted licenses, which means they have to have an adult drive with them for a year. Police can write a ticket only if the driver is stopped for another violation.
Thirty-eight states this year tried to pass legislation restricting cell phones. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 22 states either passed bills or are still considering a bill.
So far, only New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and Connecticut prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving. Other states have adopted limited restrictions for young drivers or school bus drivers.
Other new laws that go into effect Monday include one to prohibit telemarketing to cell phone numbers and one to require all students to take courses that will prepare them for higher education unless their parents and school administrators agree to waive the requirement.
Workers who quit a job as a result of domestic abuse will be able to be considered for unemployment benefits, and the agriculture commissioner will be able to keep secret records of surveillance and investigations into animal disease outbreaks under certain circumstances. Also, penalties for lying during an election campaign will be tougher -- bringing up to a year-and-a-half in jail.
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