The California State Senate approved legislation last Thursday that would ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports via a Sacramento Bee article. Calif. State Senate Bill 1613 would fine drivers up to $50 if motorists are caught talking on their cell phones unless the phone is on hands-free mode. Senate Bill 1613 now goes to the Assembly for debate. A similar passed the Assembly in 2003 but failed in the Senate Transportation Committee. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws, while 19 other states have other laws regulating driving and cell phone use. The Governor's Office has yet to take a position on the bill. The bill is being supported by police and firefighters unions, as well as insurance companies and Verizon Wireless, the report said. Sprint Nextel opposed the legislation, arguing that it singles out one type of distraction without addressing the real issue of inattentive driving. Opponents call for a more comprehensive approach, saying distractions such as reaching for something, talking to passengers and reading are more common than talking on the phone.