Bad Call, New York

Left Coast entrepreneurs shudder at the mere thought of the Empire State's attempts to stop drivers using cell phones

Better you than us. That's what the California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business is saying as its members watch New York prepare to become the first state in the nation to ban drivers from using hands-on cell phones.

"Small-business owners do not have corporate jets able to leap over the traffic snarls of Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, or the Inland Empire," says Martyn Hopper, NFIB/California state director. "They must drive right into the thick of it and spend great chunks of time in traffic."

According to Hopper, both employers and their road-warrior reps need the capability to do business while inching along traffic-snarled freeways.

In a survey of the federation's California members earlier this year, those opposed to imposing a cell-phone ban on drivers outnumbered supporters of a ban by 2 to 1. Bills introduced in the California legislature to prohibit drivers using hand-held cell phones made no more progress than, say, a commuting driver during L.A.'s rush hour.

By Theresa Forsman in New York

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