DENVER - A House panel voted to ban driving with a hand-held cell phone after an afternoon of testimony that left lawmakers in tears.
House Bill 1094 by Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, passed the House Transportation Committee on a 9-2 vote.
The bill bans cell phones and text messaging for drivers 18 or younger, plus taxi, limousine and school bus drivers. All other drivers could use cell phones only with a hands-free device. Almost every one of the two dozen witnesses spoke in favor of the bill, including Shelley Forney.
Forney's daughter, Erica, died last Thanksgiving after a driver distracted by a cell phone hit Erica, who was riding her bike home from school.
"There are no words, really, that can describe the pain and suffering that we are dealing with and will continue to deal with," Forney said.
She said she was honoring her daughter's memory by asking Colorado to enact a cell-phone ban.
"People are dying. People are severely injured, and there are no laws in place to prevent drivers from talking on cell phones," she said.
At least two lawmakers choked back tears after Forney's testimony.
The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.