Cell phone crackdown begins

CENTER CITY - December 1, 2009 On the first day of enforcing Philadelphia's cell phone ban police officers Vernon Ancrum and Jim Spratt are on the prowl. Their target is anyone texting, or holding the cell phone while also driving, riding a bike, or otherwise moving on wheels.

7 months after the ban was passed, and one month after warnings first issues these two officers are among a small army who are now handing out tickets.

Carl Solarek was one of the unlucky ones.

"I just had a message go off. I just left my office. I looked at my phone to see what the message was, and the next thing I saw, lights behind me, and here I am."

Moments later, Jill Jewel was there too caught, and copping to it.

"It was my fault, I knew, you know, it shouldn't happen. I yell when other people do it, so I shouldn't have been doing it."

Solarek and Jewell, neither of whom said they were aware of the city's ban, will now have to pay a fine of $75, which balloons to $150 if not paid within ten days. If they're caught again, they could be on the hook for up to $300.

There is no state law banning texting or talking this ban only applies within Philadelphia city limits. If you drive through the city on I-95, 676 or the Schuylkil it is illegal to use a hand held device there too but since those highways are patrolled by state troopers and not city police you're unlikely to get stopped.

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