Proposal to ban motorists from using handheld phones unlikely to gain traction in Pa.

    The number of legislative session days can be counted on two hands, but a Pennsylvania House lawmaker says it’s not a bad time to push a ban on using a handheld cell phone while driviing.

    Rep. Joe Markosek says the proposed phone ban is unfinished business.

    Police have roundly criticized a recently enacted ban on texting-while-driving for being unenforceable.

    Markosek, D-Allegheny, frames his bill as a natural followup.

    Some lawmakers have suggested a handheld phone ban may be too narrow to really crack down on all distracted driving.

    But Markosek says it still has the potential to change motorists’ behavior.

    “In many ways, this bill is not designed to be punitive, but designed to be educational,” he said.

    In addition to outlawing holding a phone in one hand while driving a car with another, the legislation would also require PennDOT to wage a public education campaign warning motorists against driving distractedly.

    Markosek says it will come with exceptions for using GPS and for allowing for cell phone use when making a call, and when stopped in traffic.

    But several House and Senate lawmakers say such a bill won’t pass this fall.

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