It’s the first time a distracted driving bill has made it through the State House of Representatives in over a decade. But a local lawmaker is disappointed her hands-free cellphone legislation was changed.
Bushkill Resident Tom Gorman says, "Teenagers on their phone and I know they’re not paying attention, you can see them weaving in and out and it’s a clear distraction."
Marshalls Creek Resident Michael Kaplan says, "There’s a red light and then it turns green and they’re sitting there and they’re on their phone, you can blatantly see it and come on go."
Those annoyances can quickly turn deadly. Last year we spoke with Eileen Miller who lost her son Paul in 2010 because of a distracted driver. That’s why State Representative Rosemary Brown of the 189th District created House Bill 37 which would require Pennsylvania drivers to put their phones down.
Brown says, "This is a road safety issue that not only affects your safety but affects other people and that’s why it becomes a concern."
The legislation would make it illegal to be behind the wheel talking on the phone without being hands-free. Every bordering state with the exception of Ohio has this law already in place.
Delaware Resident Phil Fisher says, "It keeps the driver’s attention on the road more. A lot of my friends do complain because they do get tickets but I believe it has cut down on some of the vehicle collisions."
The bill just passed in the House but not without changes. Drivers younger than 18-years-old can be pulled over solely for cellphone use, while others cannot.
Brown says, "There was one legislator that just would not agree to keeping it a primary offense so it was amended to have it be a secondary offense, which I am not in favor of."
And those we spoke with from our area think it’s stupid that if police see you blatantly driving while on the phone they can’t pull you over.
Kaplan says, "It doesn’t make much sense, then the police officer needs to sit there and wait for them to go over the speed limit to pull them over."
Gorman says, "I feel It should be a serious offense and throw the book at these people."
Brown is asking people to share those opinions with their local lawmakers to hopefully change their mind as the bill continues through the legislative process.
Fisher says, "Delaware started that way too and I believe now they can just pull you over for that so I think they got it in by the secondary but once it got in, I think it converted to a primary offense."
The hands-free cellphone bill is now in the hands of the Senate.