The city of Philadelphia moved closer to a local ban on use of handheld phones on Wednesday as Councilman Bill Green’s plan sailed through committee. First offense will run drivers $150 while subsequent fines will be $300.
(Update: The City Council approved the ban on drivers using handheld cell phones April 16 and Mayor Michael Nutter has promised to sign it into law. The vote was unanimous.)
Pennsylvania’s legislature has several cell phone and texting bills to consider, but none appear to have any heat. A spokesman for the Philly cops said he hopes the local ordinance’s passage would “send a strong message to Harrisburg that the time has come.”
New York’s swarm of local legislation against text messaging while driving and the use of handheld phones usually is credited to a similar lack of urgency in Albany. At least something happened today: Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky’s call for police to report on cell phone-related accidents cleared the Senate and is now in the House Transportation Committee.