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Lawmakers Look to Crack Down on Distracted Driving

HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Distracted driving is on the rise in Pennsylvania.  On Tuesday, Lawmakers discussed two bills that would try to crack down on the problem. Eyewitness News Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel reports.

 There were more than five thousand drivers fined for distracted driving in p-a last year. That's a 52 percent increase from the year before and a 172 percent increase from 2013. Lawmakers are now looking to put a stop to it.

 

 "It's not a matter of if you're going to be affected, it's a matter of when you're going to be affected by somebody being on a cell phone," said Eileen Miller of Lackawanna County.

Eileen and Paul Miller senior's family was forever changed by a distracted driver eight years ago.

  "Kissed me, hugged me, said I love you. Walked out the door. And I never knew in a million years that would be the last kiss and hug that I'd get from my son." said Miller.

21-year old Paul Miller Junior  was returning to their Scranton home when atractor-trailerr hit his car head on. Investigators say the driver was reaching for his cell phone at the time.

Paul Miller Sr. testified before lawmakers saying "We need stronger laws."

On Tuesday... The House Transportation Committee held a hearing to discuss two bills taking aim at the distracted driving problem in Pennsylvania. House bill 1684... Introduced by representative Rosemary Brown.

Would make talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device illegal. The punishment? A fine and three points on the driver's license.

 "The real goal of the bill is to ensure that our roadways are as safe as possible." Said Rep. Brown.

Another bill, House Bill 892 would give an additional fine. If someone who's found to be driving carelessly was also distracted in any way.

 "Talking to your friends, adjusting the radio, eating, and driving, or reading the newspaper. We've seen it all." 

Corporal Adam Reed with the Pennsylvania state police has seen first hand the increase in drivers not paying attention to the road.

  "We see a lot of crashes and we see a lot of almost crashes here in Pennsylvania due to distracted driving," said Cpl. Reed.

And he's happy to see lawmakers trying to put an end to the problem before another life is lost.

 "Anything that can be done to keep our highways safer, we're for it," added Cpl. Reed.

  "Pass this bill, in memory of my son." said Eileen Miller to lawmakers

 And both of the bills discussed in today's hearing have been in the house transportation committee since last year.


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