Cell Phone Legislation in PA: Good, But Not Great

12.01.09 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[1]

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In a recent commentary I criticized the Keystone State for failing to ban texting while driving and the use of handheld cell phones behind the wheel. I argued that this state of affairs was both dangerous and unacceptable. I even went so far as to say that Pennsylvania was failing to protect the safety and lives of its citizens.

Well, on the very same day that i delivered this commentary, Pennsylvania’s House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to approve a bill to outlaw both texting while driving as well as the use of handheld cell phones for those drivers under the age of eighteen. The bill is now under consideration by the full House, and Governor Ed Rendell is hoping to sign the bill into law by Christmas.

I want to commend Pennsylvania’s House Transportation Committee for moving in the right direction. On the other hand, the bill does not go far enough.

For example, the legislation calls for a fine of $50 for texting while driving And a $100 fine for those who text and drive in school or work zones. Considering the danger posed by texting while driving, the fines should be substantially higher and guilty parties should be forced to pay substantially higher automobile insurance premiums. Right now insurance premium increases are off the table.

Additionally, as i mentioned earlier, the legislation bans the use of handcell phones for drivers under eighteen. The fact that handheld cell phone use is not banned for drivers eighteen and older is ridiculous, dangerous, and makes absolutely no sense. Let’s hope that the cell phone legislation in Pennsylvania is amended so it will have some teeth.

I want to thank you for writing in and I always appreciate your comments. Comment below, or send me an email.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to wetmtv.com.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 12.11.09 Bob Thompson commented

As one recently injured by a 'distracted driver', I can testify the fines are ridiculously low. My 'Crash Criminal' paid $108 fine for over $50,000 of my medical bills and that also 'bought' him the law and could not be touched by my lawyer nor the district attorney. He is still out there driving.. be careful or he will crash you!