No More Drive and Chat in Philadelphia – $150-300

Didn’t catch this in the news…

City of Philadelphia
City Council
Chief Clerk's Office
402 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107

BILL NO. 080645

Introduced September 18, 2008

Councilmembers Green, Greenlee and Rizzo

Referred to the
Committee on Streets and Services

AN ORDINANCE

Amending Chapter 12-1100 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Miscellaneous Regulations
and Penalties," by adding a new section prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile telephone
by a person operating a motor vehicle or other vehicle on a City street, under certain terms
and conditions.

THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA HEREBY ORDAINS:

SECTION 1. Chapter 12-1100 of The Philadelphia Code is hereby amended as follows:

CHAPTER 12-1100. MISCELLANEOUS REGULATIONS AND PENALTIES.

* * *

§ 12-1132. Prohibiting Use of Mobile Telephones by Persons Operating Vehicles.

(1) Legislative Findings. [To be added]

(2) Definitions.

(a) "Hands-free mobile telephone" shall mean a mobile telephone or
wireless communication device that is equipped with a feature or features by which a
user may engage in a call without the use of either hand.

(b) "Street" shall have the same meaning as stated in § 12-102(16) of
this Chapter.

City of Philadelphia

BILL NO. 080645 continued

City of Philadelphia - 2 -
(3) Prohibited Conduct. No person shall use a mobile telephone or wireless
communication device in any way, including for voice communication, messaging or
emailing:

(a) while operating a motor vehicle on any Street within the City;

(b) while using a skateboard, scooter, rollerblade or bicycle on any
Street within the City.

(4) Exceptions.

(a) Persons using a hands-free mobile telephone for voice
communication, provided that they operate such telephone at all times, including
dialing, without the use of either hand.

(b) Persons using a mobile telephone for voice communication to call
"911" in an emergency, or to report a traffic accident or unsafe driving by another
motorist.

(c) Persons using a mobile telephone or wireless communication
device while maintaining a motor vehicle in a stationary position in a parking lane or
space out of moving traffic lanes, and not in gear.

(5) Penalties.

(a) The penalty for a violation of this Section shall be a fine of not less
than $150, nor more than $300. In lieu of payment of such fine, a person who
receives a notice of violation of this Section may, within 10 days of receipt of such
notice, pay $75, pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section 1-112 of The
Philadelphia Code.

So you can't drive, skate or ride your bike in Philadelphia while holding a cell phone unless you want to fork over a $300 fine.
You are still allowed to use a hands free device which begs the question. Is the problem one handed driving? Or having a
conversation while operating a two-ton vehicle on the turnpike?

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