Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Councilmen Hope To Ban "Talking," Everything Else, In Cars


If two City Council members have their way, motorists in Philadelphia will have to drastically change their habits in their cars as they will be prohibited from doing anything that isn't strictly "driving related" such as talking, changing the radio station or adjusting the temperature in the car.

Philadelphia City Council members Bill Orange and Bill Orangechen are drafting a bill that would ban all non-driving related activities in cars traveling in the Philadelphia city limits. The councilmen expect to introduce the bill when City Council returns from summer break on Sept. 18.

Although the final draft of the bill is not yet available, The Phunyun was able to obtain an early form of the bill. While the bill initially started as a ban of hand-held cell phones, texting and Web surfing, it has since grown to include activities like "talking," "regulating radio functions," "adjusting temperature controls" and "using navigation devices." Councilman Orange said the bill is a step to increase the driving safety in the city.

"You hear a lot about the people getting in accidents because they're talking on the phone, but what about the people who are just talking to a passenger, or changing the station or turning on the air conditioning," said Orange. "Look, we're not saying you can't listen to the radio, just pick a station before you remove your car from park."

Word of the new bill has angered many motorists in the area who say the expectations are just too large. Steven Jenkins, who lives in Montgomery County but commutes to Philadelphia during the week says if the bill is enacted, he will ignore it.

"There's no way I'm following that law, there's just no way," said Jenkins. "Say I'm listing to 610 [WIP-AM] on my way out of the city and it's like 2:59 and I forget Eskin comes on at 3. You're telling me I have to sit through that [crap] for my hour ride home?"

If the bill passes through council, it would take effect January 1, 2009.

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