AUGUSTA – The Democratic-led House has dealt a blow to a bill that would prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones.

The House voted 88-55 against the bill on Tuesday. It received initial approval in the Republican-led Senate last week.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz’s bill would still allow drivers’ to use hands-free devices.

Democratic Rep. Andrew McLean said Tuesday that studies have clearly shown that using a hand-held phone on the road is dangerous and this measure is an important step to ensuring residents’ safety.

But Republican Rep. Wayne Parry said the bill goes too far. He notes that Maine already outlaws texting and distracted driving and says there are many other things just as distracting to drivers as using a hand-held cellphone.

The measure faces further votes in both chambers.

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