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Pennsylvania committee votes to ban drivers from using handheld phones

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has advanced legislation to prohibit people from having cell phones in their hands while driving a vehicle.

House Bill 37, which requires drivers to use hands-free technology, passed unanimously out of the Transportation Committee on Monday. The proposal is awaiting a vote in the full House.

The measure allows for GPS use if the phone is in a docking station.

Drivers under the age of 18 or permit holders would not be allowed to use a phone unless the vehicle is stopped outside of a roadway.

Rep. Rosemary M. Brown’s (R-Monroe/Pike) said her legislation would hold drivers accountable for driving distracted.

“Many families have suffered tragic loss all because drivers couldn’t put down their phones,” Brown said in a statement. “There is no reason why the lives of others should be second to a mobile device while on the road.” 

Pennsylvania’s current distracted driving law only bans drivers from using an electronic device to send, read or write a text-based message while a vehicle is in motion. The offense is punishable by a $50 fine.

Under House Bill 37, drivers using a phone without a hands-free device would face a $200 fine.

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