The House Transportation today approved a bill banning Pennsylvania drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Markosek, an Allegheny County Democrat, says he’s worked with leaders from both parties to put together a measure that can easily win passage in the House.
18 states already ban texting behind the wheel.
Markosek tried to explain why Pennsylvania hasn’t passed the law yet, despite bipartisan support for the effort.
"I think technology always outpaces legislation. It moves way faster than we can move legislation, and I think that’s part of it. Almost everything we do here is somewhat politically driven. There’s different areas of the state. I think this is our best bet here, where we’ve driven out the politics and a lot of those things that have perhaps stood in our way in the past."
York County Democrat Eugene DePasquale, a longtime supporter of the effort, says part of that revenue would go toward educating young drivers about distracted driving.
"We need to do a better job of educating all of our drivers on the dangers. As anyone who has been 15 or 16 or 17 knows, you believe you are invincible at that age. But the consequences of texting while driving leave all of us, let’s just say a little bit short of invincible."
The bill would also ban teenage drivers from talking on a cell phone. It would charge a 50 dollar fine—though the penalty would be doubled if drivers are pulled over in a school zone.
It makes texting and driving a primary offense—that means a police officer could pull a driver over for texting, even if he or she were doing the speed limit and following all other regulations.