Fuel Smarts

Pennsylvania Bill Would Restrict Truckers' Cell Phone Use

December 15, 2000

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A Pennsylvania state representative wants to limit truck drivers and some other kinds of drivers to hands-free mobile phones.

Dave Mayernik, a Democrat from Allegheny County, is also proposing a ban on all cell phones used by teenagers with junior licenses and learner's permits and drivers of school and public buses, according to the Associated Press.
The bill calls for a $100 fine, with no points against a driver's record, unless an accident resulted from use of a mobile phone while driving.
This is not the first time Mayernik has attacked cell phone use in vehicles. In the last legislative session, he introduced a bill that would restrict all drivers in Pennsylvania from using mobile phones unless they were "hands free" models. That bill failed.
The bill is one of nearly 80 similar bills introduced in 27 states this year, reports the AP. Since 1997, cell phone restrictions have been proposed in 37 states. However, no state has yet banned cell phones in cars.
Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for mobile phone service provider Verizon Wireless of Pennsylvania, told the AP that while the company would like to see hands-free phones used in vehicles, "We don't support the approach of selecting and restricting particular drivers." He said there is no research to support the notion that regular mobile phone users have more accidents than hands-free phone users.
Pennsylvania State Police this year started tracking how many people were using cell phones when they were involved in accidents. Out of 32,000 reportable accidents between February and September, only 139 involved drivers using cellular phones at the time. Only five other states are collecting this type of information.

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