PA transportation committee approves ban on texting while driving

    The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee has approved a ban on texting and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

    The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee has approved a ban on texting and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

    Advocates of the measure say they’re hoping the ban can become law before June.

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    The committee Tuesday 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.

    Rafferty:
    Some of it will be technical in nature. 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, since that could help police officers prevent accidents before they happen.

    Both Shapiro and Rafferty are optimistic the bill could become law by early summer.

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