Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cell Phone Ban Passes PA House

from the inbox (Shapiro currently running for Montgomery County commissioner):

Shapiro ban on hand-held cell phones while driving passes House

HARRISBURG, May 12 – Last evening the state House passed legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, to make Pennsylvania’s roads safer by banning the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving. Shapiro’s amendment to H.B. 8 passed by a bipartisan vote of 151- 39.

House Bill 8 bans reading, writing or sending a text message while driving. Shapiro’s amendment expands the legislation to include a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers.

“I am pleased with the bipartisan support my amendment received in the House,” said Shapiro. “This is an issue of paramount public safety and importance and is long overdue; we need a comprehensive solution to deal with this dangerous driver distraction. We will simply save lives and stop accidents from happening by disconnecting distracted drivers from their hand-held devices on Pennsylvania’s roadways.”

According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics, since 2002, there have been 590 accidents in Pennsylvania where hands-free phones were a contributing factor, while 10,231 accidents listed hand-held phones as a contributing factor. Moreover, studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Utah have all shown that drivers who talk or text on their hand-held cell phones are three to four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Shapiro has long advocated for a statewide ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and first introduced this legislation in 2006. Eight states and the District of Columbia have all enacted bans on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving.

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