Nutter silences critics, signs cell phone ban

    Drivers in Philadelphia will soon have to hold off on text-messaging, emailing or speaking on a cell phone without a handsfree device or risk a fine.

    Drivers in Philadelphia will soon have to hold off on text-messaging, emailing or speaking on a cell phone without a handsfree device or risk a fine. Mayor Nutter signed the city’s cell-phone ban into law yesterday. But enforcement will not begin until the fall.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090430spban.mp3]

    Mayor Nutter says before police start handing out tickets, there will be a public education campaign, and warnings to drivers. In the meantime, Harrisburg lawmakers say the city has overstepped its bounds, and passed a law that violates the state motor vehicle code. The House recently passed a measure that would withhold transportation funding from the city as a result.

    But Nutter says the city has been down this road before with gun legislation and the smoking ban. He says in this case, public safety will prevail.

    Nutter: This is a serious public safety issue. We are the elected officials of the city of Philadelphia and we took an oath to uphold the interests of the citizens of this city and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure the public is safe.

    Recent studies show driving while using a cellphone makes drivers four times more likely to crash. And even using a handsfree device can impair judgement. Police will start enforcing the ban in November.

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