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A proposed Pennsylvania bill would ban the use of hand-held phones while driving

A person sits in the driver's seat of the car looking at a cell phone.
Robert F. Bukaty
In this file photo, a driver uses his cell phone while driving in Portland, Maine. A bill to ban the use of handheld cellular devices while driving in the state took effect in 2019. Similar legislation has been introduced in Pennsylvania in 2023.

A Pennsylvania state senator has introduced legislation that would ban drivers from using cell phones and other hand-held devices when behind the wheel, a change supporters say would make roads safer.

Under current law, drivers are not allowed to text behind the wheel. But under state Senator Rosemary Brown’s proposed legislation, drivers won’t be allowed to use any hand-held device.

A Republican from the Poconos area, Brown said her legislation would reduce the number of avoidable crashes.

“It is not meant to harm drivers, it is meant to help save lives and save drivers from any crashes or accidents," Brown said. "We really want to train the drivers to put down the phone.”

The consequences for not following the law would gradually increase. For a first-time offense, drivers would get a warning. For a second offense, they would face a $100 fine. The third offense would be a misdemeanor.

“Two hands on the wheel, two eyes on the road, and your mind at task," Brown said.

Drivers would still be able to use their phones hands-free.

Katie Knol is a WPSU radio news intern for fall 2022.