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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2018 12:30 PM
From: Senator John P. Sabatina, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Cell Phone Ban for Novice Drivers
In the near future, I intend to re-introduce legislation for a primary law prohibiting novice drivers (16 and 17 years of age) from using cell phones while driving in this Commonwealth. This bill was introduced by former Transportation Chairman John Rafferty and myself last session. It was Senate Bill 786 of last session.

Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety issue for novice drivers. Novice drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers age 20 and older.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), in 2016 - 3,450 people were killed nationally as a result of distracted driving. 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.

During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.

Thirty seven (37) other states have similar laws in place for novice drivers.

Our legislation will follow provisions from the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and make Pennsylvania eligible for the federal distracted driving incentive grant.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to further strengthen our distracted driving laws in the Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB131