Talking while driving? Time to hang up

PHILADELPHIA. It may be tempting to answer that text message on your phone while you’re behind the wheel. Don’t do it.

That’s the message from Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey in a public service announcement that began running this weekend to coincide with enforcement of the city’s cell phone ban which started yesterday.

Police will give out warnings to motorists, cyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders until $75 fines kick in on Dec. 1. Those using hands-free devices will not be ticketed.

“They did some education first and tried to figure out how we’re going to enforce it,” said Lt. Frank Vanore. “There were some internal issues that we had to tackle first.”

While Vanore said police are ready to uphold the law, one place it won’t be enforced is on Interstates 95 and 76. Highways are patrolled by Pennsylvania state police, who do not enforce local ordinances.

Councilman Bill Green said that won’t make much of a difference.

“The percentage of state police cars to Philadelphia police in the city is negligible, so for the most part the law will be enforced,” he said.

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