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Chapel Hill businesses worried by cell phone ban

Small business owners in Chapel Hill in North Carolina are worried that a cell phone ban for all drivers in the community, which is expected to come into force from June, will cost them both time and money.

The decision to outlaw the use of handheld and even hands-free new and old cell phones while driving was passed 5-4 on Monday by the Town Council, making Chapel Hill the first town in the whole of North Carolina to enact such a ban.

The decision has not impressed some.  Mark England, the co-owner of Advanta Clean, a cleaning firm that responds to water and fire emergencies in Chapel Hill, says: “I work out of my car, so I rely a lot on email and cell phone.” England points out that a great deal of his work comes from the fact that he is able to respond quickly in an emergency situation, with the result that missing a text, email or cell phone call is likely to end up costing him several thousand dollars in lost jobs.  “It doesn’t make Chapel Hill more attractive to work in at all,” he notes.  “We do emergency services, so we go wherever we are called, but I could focus more of my marketing efforts outside of Chapel Hill.”

Nor is England alone in his concerns, with other businesses also agreeing that the ban is a step too far.