An effort in the state Pennsylvania Senate to ban the use of handheld mobile phones while driving has died after a state report concluded that doing so would not prevent a significant number of accidents.
The report on driver distractions by a bipartisan legislative research group found that 3.5% of crashes reported to police statewide during 1999 and 2000 were at least partially attributed to distractions. Only 0.4% were specifically tied to cell phone use.
"The report does not show a preponderance of evidence to suggest that cell phones are a major cause of accidents," said Chad Davis, chief of staff for Sen. Joe Conti, who had been the lead backer of the bill.
New York is the only state to ban cell phones behind the wheel, though many others are considering it. The prohibition, which went into effect Nov. 1, carries fines of $100 for the first offense, up to $500 for repeated violations.