During a Senate Transportation Committee meeting in Harrisburg last week, some senators expressed qualms about enacting a strong state law banning all drivers from talking on cell phones or texting on mobile devices while they're driving. They must have chauffeurs.
Who hasn't seen countless examples of drivers blithely chatting away or sending text messages while giving scant attention to the road conditions around them? That's exactly why Pennsylvania needs a law that bans the activity not just for teens but for all drivers, and that makes the violation a primary offense.
That means a police officer who observes someone talking on a hand-held phone while driving could pull the driver over and issue a citation. Some in the Senate favor making cell phone use or texting secondary offenses, which would mean drivers could be cited only after they have been pulled over for another offense, such as running a red light or erratically changing lanes.
House Bill 2070, which passed the House by an overwhelming majority of 189-6 in January, would apply to all drivers and categorize the activity as a primary offense. Both provisions of that bill will make Pennsylvania roads safer for drivers and pedestrians.
When the Senate returns from its April recess, it should pass the bill, sooner rather than L-8-er.