City Cell Phone Ban For Drivers Up For Hearing, Facing Challenge

Legislation to ban the use of cell phones by drivers in Philadelphia comes up for a public hearing tomorrow morning after it was proposed in August by Councilmen Bill Green, Bill Greenlee and Frank Rizzo.  And that has a Montgomery County attorney renewing his pledge to represent for free anyone cited for the infraction if the law is approved by Council and signed by Mayor Nutter.

The legislation would allow drivers to use a "hand-free" device to carry on conversations but also ban text messaging and e-mailing from the driver's seat.  The legislation, introduced in Council in September, also included a ban on cell phone use for people using scooters, roller skates, bikes and skateboards.

PennDOT has expressed concerns, saying the law infringes on the power of the state's motor vehicle code.  That's how attorney Philip J. Berg overcame for a client a similar ordinance in Hilltown, Bucks County, in 2000.  Berg called the proposed Philadelphia ordinance as a "feel-good" measure.  He may show up tomorrow to testify.

If Berg's name sounds familiar, that may be because he filed a federal suit in Philadelphia, asserting that President Obama was not a United States citizen and therefore ineligible to serve in the Oval Office. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.  Berg tells PhillyClout he is now running for judge in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.