New York is set to become the first state to ban talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, after the state assembly passed a bill that the governor has promised to sign next week.

In the past 30 months, 41 other states have proposed similar bans, but none have become law.

New York's legislation does not ban talking on the phone in a car. Talking with a headset or a speakerphone is permitted, and hand-held cell phones can be used in emergencies. But a driver who is seen by police holding a handset to the ear and having a conversation could be fined up to $100, unless the driver can present evidence in court that proves otherwise.