Pennsylvania’s governor signs law banning drivers from holding phones

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — A bill signed into law in Pennsylvania on Wednesday aims to make roads safer by reducing distracted driving with new rules on what you can do with your devices.

The law means that when you are behind the wheel of a car, you cannot hold your phone in your hands. The goal is to keep you focused on the road.

After her son Paul died after being hit by a distracted driver, Eileen Miller has spent the past twelve years trying to prevent other mothers from going through her pain.

“No one should lose a child, a brother, a sister, a mother or father because of a cell phone,” Eileen Miller said.

This law prohibits any driver from using their device for calling, texting or surfing. Devices must be used hands-free.

“They almost have an iPad on the dash. It’s safer, you can talk on your phone that way, and if you’re distracted, just wait until you get to where you need to be,” said Seneca Weatherspoon of Brownsville , Fayette County. .

Drivers in western Pennsylvania say they routinely find people on their phones while driving.

“I see people almost hitting people, especially some people riding in bike lanes,” Weatherspoon said.

They believe this is a step in the right direction to make driving safer for everyone.

“I’m all for it. There are plenty of crazy people on the road because people aren’t paying attention. I don’t think they need any more distractions,” said Emory Elliot of Canonsburg, Washington County.

There are some exceptions for emergency services, but the state now joins more than two dozen other states with similar laws. Drivers who violate this will be issued a $50 violation.

“We are on a path to making Pennsylvania’s roads much, much safer,” said Senator Rosemary Brown.

There is language in the bill to allow police to keep records of who they arrest for distracted driving. It is intended to prevent police from targeting historically marginalized communities.