City Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Bill Green today said they will introduce legislation next month that would force motorists to use "hands-free" devices for cell phones while driving. Sending text message or cruising the Internet from behind the wheel of a moving car would also become a code violation.
The proposed legislation, which would be introduced when Council comes back from summer break one month from today, could be a legally shaky ground. Greenlee said the city's Law Department is now working on the details. "They have some concerns but they also think it could possibly be done," Greenlee said.
Hilltown Township in Bucks County passed similar legislation in 1999 but it was overturned the next year when a driver filed a challenge in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. A PennDOT spokesman today said a cell phone ban could face problems because municipalities in the state are preempted from passing legislation that conflicts with the state Motor Vehicle Code. "We'll deal with the possibility of preemption when and if it comes up," Greenlee said.
So PhillyClout wanted to know: Has Greenlee or Green ever used a cell phone while driving? Turns out Greenlee doesn't drive at all. And Green confirms he has done so "in states where it's legal." So far, it's still legal to drive and dial in Pennsylvania.