Philadelphia, April 30, 2009 – Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter stood with bill sponsors Councilmen William Greenlee, William Green, and Frank Rizzo to sign legislation barring the use of a handheld cell phone while driving a car, riding a bike, or operating any other vehicle in the City of Philadelphia. Hands-free cell phone use will still be permitted. If caught using a cell phone while operating a vehicle, citizens will be fined $150, which will be reduced to $75 if paid within 10 days.
“I am pleased to sign legislation that will make Philadelphia safer for vehicles and pedestrians alike,” said Mayor Nutter. “Operating a vehicle while distracted is simply dangerous.”
“With the signing of this Bill, we have improved the public safety of all Philadelphians,” agreed Councilman Greenlee.
Philadelphia joins a growing list of cities and states across America that bans the use of handheld cell phones while driving. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cell phone usage quadruples the likelihood that a driver will be involved in an accident.
“There is no doubt: using a cell phone to make a call or send a text is a major distraction — one that could cost other motorists or pedestrians their lives,” said Councilman Green. “I commend my colleagues who worked with me on this legislation, a critical matter of health, safety and public welfare, and thank the Mayor for signing it into law today.”
“This legislation is the culmination of lots of hard work in City Council,” said Councilman Rizzo. “As Mayor Nutter signs this bill into law, Philadelphia will be a safer place.”
Enforcement of the cell phone ban will begin November 1, 2009. For the next six months, the City will educate drivers about the new restrictions.