Pennsylvania’s House has voted overwhelmingly to ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones. The House voted 189-6 to ban drivers from holding a phone to their head while operating vehicles.
Texting while driving would also be banned – though it would still be legal to talk on a hands-free device or to use a phone’s GPS system while driving.
The measure heads to the Senate, which approved a texting ban last year.
It’s unclear whether there’s enough support to pass a full cell phone ban, though State Representative Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County Democrat, says lawmakers considering opposing the bill should take heed.
"The vote in the House combined with the 90-percent support ratio, as shown in these public polls – I think any senator looking to weaken this bill should think very carefully before they walk it back."
Lehigh County Republican Dough Reichley supports the measure.
"My equivalent to it is this is more equivalent to you giving me an open beer and allowing me to drive before the accident occurs. This is a dangerous source of drivers losing focus. While I respect the privacy concerns and worry about big brother, this has been such a documented problem throughout Pennsylvania I don’t think you can just let it go on and on."
The bill would make dialing and driving a primary offense, which means police officers could pull drivers over if they see phones to their ears.
A spokesman for Governor Rendell says he supports the bill, and would sign it if it reaches his desk.