Distracted drivers, beware: House advances bill to create $200 fine for cell phone use behind the wheel

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike (Douglas Muth/Flickr)

    The legislative gears are again moving to crack down on Pennsylvania’s cell phone-wielding drivers.

    The House Transportation Committee advanced a bill Monday that would create a $200 fine for anyone caught using a hand-held cell phone while driving.

    This isn’t the first time Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, has introduced the bill. But she sees Monday’s committee vote just a few months into a new session as a sign the legislation will gain momentum and overcome the skepticism of some lawmakers.

    “The hurdle comes down to sometimes a legislator or their constituents may be saying ‘don’t tell me what to do within my car,'” Brown told the Capital-Star. But, she continued, “it’s one thing to affect your own safety, but to affect others [is] when government needs to be involved.”

    Hands-free use would still be legal, and a violation would not add points to a person’s driver’s license. Police could not ticket a driver for using a phone while at a red light, stop sign, or in traffic.

    Brown said she would prefer for the measure to apply in those instances, but taking them out was a compromise to garner support.

    Leaving out enforcement when a driver is stopped means Pennsylvania will not be eligible for an extra $600,000 in federal transportation funding, according to ranking Transportation Democrat Rep. Mike Carroll, of Luzerne.

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation, distracted drivers killed 3,166 people in 2017.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here