Texting ban began Thursday

Talking on a handheld cell phone while driving is legal again in Philadelphia.

Police began enforcing Pennsylvania’s texting ban on Thursday which prohibits motorists from reading, typing or sending messages behind the wheel.

The ban is a primary offense, meaning officers can pull someone over just for violating the law. It supersedes the Philadelphia ordinance that went into effect in December 2010 outlawing the use of handheld cell phones by drivers.

While the new legislation is supposed to make the roads safer by cracking down on one of the biggest distractions for motorists, many say it will be hard to enforce because drivers are still allowed to dial and make calls, making it hard for officers to tell if someone is actually texting.

“The law was created by cell phone lobbyists to allow people to be on their phones to allow them to make money on the streets and highways of Philadelphia,” City Councilman Bill Green said during Thursday’s Council session. “There’s blood on their hands.”

Some motorists are glad for the more relaxed law.

“I absolutely like that. I think [talking on the phone while driving] is the lesser of two evils,” said Gladwyne resident Alex Certo-Ware, who works in Philadelphia.

Linda Gonya, who works in Philadelphia but lives in South Jersey, said she expects to see an increase in the number of people talking on their phone.

“I don’t do either, ever,” Gonya said of talking or texting behind the wheel. “I think they’re worse off now because the officers they’re not going to be able to do much about it. … You’re going to see more people on the phone, which means more accidents.”

Lots of tickets by city cops since 2010

Philadelphia’s ordinance also applied to cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders. Between December 2010 and March 5, 2012, a total of 31,587 citations had been handed out in the city, police said.
Under the state law, drivers face a $50 fine for each violation.


US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.


Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.


After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.


'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.


'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…


Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…


Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…


Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…