Motorist Cell Phone Ban Bill Hits Bump In Council

A proposed local law to ban the use of cell phones by motorists hit a delay this morning when a hearing on the matter was postponed.  City Councilmen Bill Green and Bill Greenlee introduced the measure in September, despite objections from PennDOT, which says a local ordinance would conflict with the state Motor Vehicle Code.  The bill would allow motorists to use their cell phones with a "hand-free" device.

Councilman Frank DiCicco, chairman of the Committee on Streets and Services, canceled this morning's hearing on the bill and several other measures due to "an unexpected and unavoidable personal matter."  A new hearing date has not been set.

Green's staff said the city Law Department has worked up an opinion on how the local law can be enforced without conflicting with the state Motor Vehicle Code.  An attorney who successfully challenged a similar ordinance in Buck County vowed last year to represent for free any motorist cited in Philadelphia if the law is passed.

That attorney, Philip J. Berg, made a little national news in the last presidential election.  That issue went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.