The Senate Transportation Committee has approved a ban on texting and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving in Pennsylvania.
Advocates of the measure say they’re hoping it can become law before June.
The committee voted 9-4 to move the measure to the full Senate. The cell phone ban passed the House with broad bipartisan support in January.
Committee Chair John Rafferty, a Republican representing parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties, says he expects it to pass the Senate, though amendments are likely.
"Some of it will be technical in nature. Others will be – I think you’re going to find some of the members of the Senate Transportation Committee, as well as the Senate themselves, don’t necessarily want cell phones to be a secondary offense, but rather a primary offense."
The House bill makes talking or texting while driving a primary offense, which means motorists could be pulled over and issued tickets, even if they’re obeying every other law. Democratic Representative Josh Shapiro, who helped author the measure, says keeping the language is critical...
"The point of that is to ensure that we stop accidents from occurring. Making it a secondary offense negates some of the strength of this bill, and merely punishes drivers after the fact."
Both Shapiro and Rafferty are optimistic the bill could become law by early summer.
7 States and the District of Columbia ban drivers from using hand-held cell phones.