Pennsylvania Proposes Stricter Laws Against Phone-Distracted Drivers

Pennsylvania Proposes Stricter Laws Against Phone-Distracted Drivers

A law that would require drivers to lay down their cell phones on the road was approved by the Pennsylvania State House, according to its backers.

“A mom with a mission,” according to Eileen Miller, who lost her son Paul in 2010 to a careless truck driver talking on his phone.

“At the morgue when I saw my son, I whispered in his ear that I had found out what had caused that crash. And when I found out I would make change,” she stated.

Paul Miller’s Law is the proposed legislation that would outlaw using mobile devices while driving and classify it as a serious infraction. That would include using email and playing video games while operating a vehicle.

“There’s more people getting in car accidents, distracted driving than are drunk drivers,” Stat Rep. Ed Neilson, who chairs the Transportation Committee stated. “The change we look into is to make certain that people put down their phones by driving. Because right now, legally, you can actually watch a movie while you’re driving down the street.”

Police would have to document who they pull over and why under the proposed law. They would gather that information.

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According to Liz Randol, the Legislative Director for the ACLU in Pennsylvania, “distracted driving is certainly a problem. But we just believe that this is definitely not the way to address it.”

Civil libertarians fear that the measure will allow local police to stop people for anything they believe they witnessed.

As per Randol’s belief, the measure would provide police officers with greater rationale to conduct stops that may escalate into violent or fatal encounters.

Miller, the mom on a mission, is all too familiar with deadly confrontations.

“I tell everybody, ‘turn their phones off behind the wheel.’ Once you lose a child, there is nothing that important. Nothing’s that important.”

The bill must first pass the State Senate in order for Governor Josh Shapiro to consider it. The duration of the State Senate’s examination of the measure is unclear.