Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ban on Cell Phone Use by Drivers Stalled

A bill banning drivers in Pennsylvania from talking or texting on cell phones is all but dead in the General Assembly.
House Democrats and Senate Republicans can’t quite agree on who’s responsible for stalling the distracted driving bill, but they’re on the same page in acknowledging it likely won’t become law this year.
Both chambers had passed versions of the legislation, and lawmakers spent the summer and fall negotiating a compromise.
But the House didn’t vote on the measure this week, and Senate Republican spokesman Erik Arneson says the upper chamber was only going to consider the issue if the House sent them a bill.

"We don’t have any plans. We had expected, until the announcement a little while ago, that they would take this up this week. So we don’t have a plan b in place, and I don’t expect that we will."

The Senate is only in session for three more days this year.
House Democrat Josh Shapiro of Montgomery County says he’ll start from scratch next year.

"I think we both would like to see primary enforcement, and I think we can still get that on a number of the key provisions."

Shapiro and co-sponsor Eugene DePasquale say a compromise had been reached, which would ban all drivers from talking or texting – but make the offense secondary, rather than primary. That means a driver could only be cited for violating the cell phone ban if he were pulled over for another offense. However, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Todd Eachus says a final agreement was never hammered out.

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