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Ban Cell Phone Use by Pa. Drivers?

Lawmakers are talking about prohibiting cell phone use while driving in Pennsylvania

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Driving while using a cell phone or other hand-held device could be prohibited in Pennsylvania.

House Appropriations Minority Chairman Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Allegheny, announced Thursday that he plans to introduce this proposed ban in the fall.

Barry Ciccocioppo, Markosek’s communications director, said the ban is being introduced to help police enforce the current ban on texting while driving.

“Somebody can have a phone in their hand and say they weren’t texting, they were dialing a number,” he said.

The bill has not yet been circulated for co-sponsorship, but does have support within the Democratic caucus, Ciccocioppo said.

Drivers caught using phones would be fined $50, or $100 if driving in a school zone, work zone or highway safety corridor, said Ciccocioppo, according to current draft legislation.

Exceptions to the ban would include drivers using a GPS device.

When Pennsylvania passed its texting-while-driving ban in 2011, some legislators called it over-regulating, while others said it wouldn’t solve the problem.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which studies the nation’s roads, examined states that ban drivers from using hand-held devices to determine if the ban influences driver behavior. It found that driver hand-held phone use was an estimated 24 percent to 76 percent lower in states with the ban than in states without a ban, like New York and Connecticut.

But it also concludes there’s no evidence to show that banning such behavior reduces crashes.

“It’s not clear why bans are not reducing crashes despite reductions in hand-held phone use and texting while driving,” says IIHS on its website. “Further research is needed in order to fully understand this disparity.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates that 58 people were killed last year in more than 14,000 distracted-driving car crashes.

If the law passes, Pennsylvania would join 10 other states with similar bans, including New JerseyNew York,Delaware and Maryland.

Heather Depew September 09, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Don't give them any ideas. These bans infringe on our rights. I'm all for requiring hands free talking....but this is ridiculous.
Heather Depew September 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM
We should ban bad drivers who refuse to get out of the left lane or who keep passing trucks on the right without letting those trucks get over. That causes more accidents than talking on a cell. (Although texting still is worse for everyone). I remember when I was younger I saw a guy reading a book and driving. Can that be banned??? Also I saw a guy playing a recording and he had sheet music on his steering wheel, and this was back in the 90's on the Garden State Parkway. now tell me, what is worse???
juju jetson September 09, 2012 at 04:55 PM
None of it is sensible when behind the wheel of a vehicle - any vehicle. But when people get behind the wheel, common sense and brains fly far away. There is nothing, nothing, not one thing THAT important that someone driving absolutely has to make a call or text. If, perchance, it IS an emergency, then pull off the road, safely, make the call or text or whatever. When done, then rejoin the traffic flow. Nothing is worth killing someone because of a cell phone call or text message. And to those who think driving and having breakfast or driving and shaving/putting on makeup, or driving while reading is reasonable and sensible - NO it is definitely not. If you are behind the wheel, concentrate on the road. Get up earlier to give yourself time for breakfast and reading and shaving and putting on makeup. Anyone who does any of the above - cell phone calls/texts, reading, shaving, makeup, breakfast, whatever is quite simply a very selfish, ignorant jerk.
Bruce Davis September 10, 2012 at 03:18 AM
We can't even stop crazy aggressive drivers doing over 75 mph from cutting you off and pulling in front of you and slamming on their brakes because that crazy person thinks you didn't get over fast enough for them doing 75 mph on the highway. What makes you think you can stop cell phone abuse as it is everywhere and people are ignoring the law now. How much will the taxpayers spend to hire new cops just to regulate cell phones use.which is abused everywhere. Got money, just throw it in the furnace because the taxes will kill us to regulate this with any real effect. Good Luck with that!
JAG40PA September 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM
This law cannot come quick enough. We all see it, every day there is a new story about talking/texting and accidents. We are all way too distracted by other things than just phones. My slogan is "just drive". If you have to make a call, pull over.

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