Lawmakers to Consider Phone Ban for Drivers

State Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Allegheny, announced Thursday that he plans to introduce a bill that would ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

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 Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland.

Marc September 09, 2012 at 02:49 PM
No, the other way: anyone who does use a cell-phone while driving should pay triple!
K. Thom. September 09, 2012 at 08:24 PM
More laws and regulations please. Even though I grew up and moved out of my parents home I still need someone to tell me what I can and can't do. Could you please dress me as well. Oh oh and I need someone to hold my hand while I cross the street, only in a crosswalk of course wouldn't want to jay walk.
K. Thom. September 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Lets stop people from talking to other people in the car. How many times do I have to see drivers turning their head to talk to someone next to them or behind them. We also should stop people from eating or drinking in the car. Better yet lets just mandate that only people with common sense be allowed to drive and then just leave the rest of alone
Liberty 1 September 11, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Leave it to a dem to restrict and fine. As much as I despise people who talk on the phone while driving I despise more the government who wants to take advantage. I drive for a living and see a lot of idiots on the road -not all are on a phone. Hands free is not the answer either. By having a conversation you are distracted it is not holding a phone that is the problem.
Bob September 19, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Can a passenger call 911 to report violators in other cars?


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