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Markosek introduces bill to reduce accidents caused by distracted

Markosek introduces bill to reduce accidents caused by distracted and inexperienced drivers
HARRISBURG, Feb. 18 – State Rep. Joseph F. Markosek, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, has again introduced legislation aimed at reducing vehicle accidents caused by distracted and inexperienced drivers.
Under the bill, adult drivers would be required to use hands-free cell phones while driving. Teen drivers would be banned from using any interactive wireless communication device, such as a cell phone, personal digital assistant or laptop computer while driving. Exceptions would be made for people reporting an emergency, on-duty emergency vehicle operators and volunteer emergency responders.
Violations would carry a $50 fine, which would double if the offense occurred in a school zone, work zone or emergency response area.
Markosek’s bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to develop a public education program to warn of the dangers of distracted driving and to report the campaign’s effectiveness to the House and Senate Transportation committees.
Markosek’s bill also would increase training requirements for junior drivers and restrict the number of passengers in their car who are younger than 18.
“Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths,” Markosek said. “We can save lives by limiting potential distractions to teen drivers and by increasing the time they must spend behind the wheel before they receive a license.”
Markosek’s bill would increase from 50 to 65 the number of behind-the-wheel driving hours teens must have before they can get a license. It would limit junior drivers to one non-family member younger than 18 as a passenger for the first six months of having license. Junior driver license holders who have a clean driving record for the first six months would be allowed to transport up to three non-family passengers younger than 18. These passenger limits would be waived if the driver’s parent or legal guardian is present.
 The bill is currently before the House Transportation Committee.
 “My role in the House has changed now that I’m Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,” Markosek said. “But safety in transportation remains one of my top priorities.”
Markosek last legislative session served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

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