AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 16 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker Chrysler has joined Ford in endorsing the Safe Drivers Act of 2001, which bans the use of handheld phones when driving, officials said.
"Chrysler has a strong history of addressing distracted driving, and we are proactively designing our vehicles and educating our customers on the importance of staying focused on the road," the company said Friday.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., would have the federal government ban the use of handheld phones and other devices while driving, except in an emergency, USA Today reported.
States that don't go along with the ban could lose up to 25 percent of their federal transportation funding, the Detroit Free Press said.
Chrysler said the "legislation addresses the fact that a driver's primary responsibility is to be in control of their vehicle," and "texting while driving clearly interferes with that responsibility."
Ford endorsed the bill last week, calling it "a practical, commonsense approach to a national problem." Verizon Wireless also supports the ban, but General Motors has so far refused to take a position on the legislation.