HARRISBURG – After many months of deliberation, Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) announced Wednesday that her hands-free cellphone legislation, House Bill 37, was passed by the House with a vote of (120-74).
“Although I am pleased that this legislation was passed by the House, I want to also express my disappointment that this bill was amended to classify adult violations of this potential law as a secondary offense,” said Brown.
“I value any and all input that my colleagues bring forward during legislative debate; however, while they were voting with good intentions, making a violation of my legislation a secondary offense weakens the bill itself.
“The goal of House Bill 37 is to ensure that those driving on the road do not continue to put their phones ahead of their own, and other driver’s, lives, as well as prioritizing consistent road safety.”
House Bill 37 would establish the prohibition on using an interactive wireless communication device (cellphone) while a person is operating a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway.
The prohibitions in this bill include:
- For an adult (18 years or older)– They may not use their cellphone while operating a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway. An adult is still able to use their cellphone through Bluetooth or as a GPS, if they don’t grasp or support the phone with any part of their body. In addition, an adult would not be able to use their phone to write, send or read any text-based communications, record or broadcast a video or picture and or watch a video or movie on a cellphone while driving. The violation of the prohibition for an adult is a secondary offense, which means a driver or a passenger can receive a citation but only after a driver has been pulled over for a primary offense.
- For a minor (under 18 years) – They may not control a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway. The only exceptions for a minor are calling law enforcement or other emergency services, using the phone as a GPS while it is affixed to the vehicle, or when the vehicle is stopped outside the roadway. The violation of the prohibition for a minor is a primary offense.
The penalty for violating this prohibition states that the individual will be subject to a $150 fine and a summary offense.
“I look forward to continuing to work diligently with my colleagues in the House and Senate as the legislative process moves forward and hope that we are able to deliver a strong piece of legislation to the governor that will curb hazardous driving habits and protect lives of Pennsylvania drivers,” said Brown.
More information on this legislation can be found at legis.state.pa.us.