Watch CBS News

New Pennsylvania law would require hands-free cellphone use while driving

New Pennsylvania law would require hands-free cellphone use while driving
New Pennsylvania law would require hands-free cellphone use while driving 01:57

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A bill making its way through Harrisburg is calling for no more handheld cellphone use while driving. Lawmakers want to stop crashes and tragedies that take lives.

Currently, you can answer and talk on your phone as you drive, but with this bill, you can still talk on the phone while you drive but can't be holding it.

"There's been a lot of people who are playing on their phones and not paying attention," Brandon Cromer said.

Brandon Cromer has been hit by a distracted driver while driving.

"It's just when people are taking their eyes off the road because then you are putting other people's lives at risk," Cromer said.

Stories like that are pushing lawmakers to stop this problem. According to the Pa. Turnpike, eight to nine people are killed by distracted drivers each day across the country. This bill would aim to have drivers put their phones down and use hands-free options to take calls or texts.

"I can't fathom why this is not something that we just automatically think of," District 45 Rep. Anita Kulik said.

Most state representatives agree with the idea. While it passed the House, there were no's from both sides of the aisle. There are concerns people with older cars or phones may have issues, along with the bill being hard to enforce.

"The mechanism behind this is going to be very complicated. We want to make sure that our laws are very clear and what people can and can't do," 8th District Rep. Aaron Bernstine said.

There are worries from some representatives that with it being a primary offense, certain populations may be targeted more than others by officers. Lawmakers put a change in the House's bill to have police track the demographics of who they are pulling over for this. 

"It just makes sense to keep people safe on the road while offering some accountability that certain folks may be targeted in traffic stops," District 20 Rep. Emily Kinkead said. 

There are exceptions in the bill for 911 calls.

The bill says the first year would be warnings and then moving into summary violations and fines.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.