One of the top measures on Pennsylvania lawmakers’ agenda when they return to Harrisburg next week is a bill restricting drivers’ cell phone use.
When legislators left town in July, House Democrats were livid about the Senate’s vote to water down a distracted driving bill, so it only applied to teen drivers, and made the measure a secondary offense. If it is a secondary offense, the driver could only be cited for that violation if they were pulled over for a primary offense such as speeding.
House sponsor Josh Shapiro, a Montgomery County Democrat says both sides are hoping to hammer out a compromise before the election.
"I still feel that a primary law is stronger than a secondary law, and will save more lives. I also understand that in the course of discussions, and in talks that we’ve been having over the summer, that the aim is trying to pass a bill that is stronger than the one the Senate sent over to us."
House sponsor Eugene DePasquale, a York County Democrat, says both sides have been negotiating throughout the summer.
"But the only thing I want to say on this both sides have made a lot of progress in the talks. And I’m confident – not 100 percent convinced, but confident – that we’re going to have a strong bill done this fall."
A Senate Republican spokesman doubts whether a primary offense bill could pass the upper chamber. The other major factor is whether or not the bill would apply to all drivers, or just new licensees.