Montana lawmakers are considering a statewide ban on cellphone use while driving, with hefty fines looming for violators:

Democratic Sen. Christine Kaufmann of Helena told the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee yesterday many Montana cities (such as Bozeman) already have a cellphone ban in place. She said Senate Bill 390 would ensure consistency across the state. The measure would allow drivers to talk on their cellphones only through a hands-free device, leaving both hands and eyes free to concentrate on the road.

Under Kaufmann's bill, first-time violators would be fined $50, second-time violators $100 and third-time violators $200. The committee didn't take immediate action on the bill.