House Bill 37 – hands free cell bill

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I am probably not alone in feeling that one of the top dangers to cyclists are drivers who are distracted by their mobile device.

You may have seen it mentioned in a news story early in the summer that the State is considering legislation to update the law to ban use of a mobile device while driving (except handsfree – or as a gps while attached to a mount – I’m paraphrasing a little).  I was suprised to learn that the current law only bans “texting” and does not ban other handheld uses of a mobile device.  I was also surprised that the fine was only $50.  The new fine would be $200.

You can read it, and follow it’s progress here:

House Bill 37

I have already written my house representative to support this bill.

I also mentioned some things I noted in reading it that were cause for concern. (mainly around enforcement).

The concern about enforcement is due to the state’s funding of the “Distracted Driver Awareness Fund” – which without looking into it, I assume that it is a fund to support advertising/billboards to put the phone down, etc.

The way the bill is currently written, the $200 fine would be broken down as follows: $175 goes to that state Distracted Driver Awareness Fund, $12.50 would go to the state motor license fund, and $12.50 would go to the municipal corporation for the police who wrote the ticket. (all $25 goes to the motor license fund if its a state trooper writing the ticket).  I don’t know whether revenue collection drives any priorities with regard to local enforcement – but that looks like a terrible return on investment of time for a local law enforcement officer to pull someone over for distracted driving?

Wondering if anyone here – or BikePGH – has any thoughts or comments, or any potential ways we might help shape policy with regard to distracted driving and enforcement.





These bills are better than nothing but from what I’ve seen study wise any use of the cell phone, including hands free, causes impairment in driving.

One argument against these bills from gop types is that it’s a cash grab. That’s been the argument against speeding bills. But you’re right-$12.50 ain’t nothing and no cop is going to sit there and write ticket after ticket to generate income for the borough.

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