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highway traffic safety
national highway traffic
traffic accidents
communication device
gps devices
gps systems
Pennsylvania's Texting Ban
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Pennsylvania\'s Texting Ban

In the State of Pennsylvania it is now a primary offense to use an interactive wireless communication device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text base message while driving. Why did we need this law and how does it affect us, does it go far enough?

The new law went into affect on Thursday making Pennsylvania the 35th state to ban texting while driving. It carries a $50 fine plus costs totaling around $135 for texting while driving. It does not include talking on a cell phone or using GPS devices or systems that are built into the vehicle.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) shows texting and driving was up 50 percent over last year. Nearly 3,092 people were fatally injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. In 2010 Pennsylvania had 14,000 distracted driving traffic accidents resulting in 68 fatalities.

As a primary offense a police officer does not need another offense to pull you over. If texting is the cause of an accident the police can subpoena the cell phone companies records. It is to soon to know how effective the new law will be. It will be a hard law to enforce. In the dark of night there may be the gleam of a lighted display. During the day erratic driving behavior may be the only clue. How do you prove someone was using a phone to text when they could say they were talking on the phone?

This new State Law supersedes and preempts any local ordinances restricting the use of interactive wireless devices by drivers. So jurisdictions previously banning cell phone use while driving will now be enforcing the new anti-texting law and not enforcing previous laws banning cell phone use while driving.

Many feel the new law did not go far enough. In fact there was wording to include a cell phone ban in the original Bill but that was removed before the final draft. There is still the question of the distraction of GPS systems and certainly that of talking on the phone while driving.

I think they just wanted to be sure to get the law through. They may go back to the drawing board and try to amend GPS systems and mobile phones to be included. At some point they may want to take a good look at the auto manufacturers busy dashboards.

Distractive driving is becoming an increasing problem at an alarming rate. We have busier and busier dashboards hosting our electronic conveniences coming out in the new vehicle lineup each year. The new law actually makes some tougher local laws that included any non-hands free device (includes cell phone ban) unenforceable.

While many agree that the new law does not go far enough it is a good first step.

Street Talk


Yes AnnMarie, presently, state wide in PA you can talk on the phone and drive. Pittsburg and Philly had cell phone bands, but no more. I think they will start amending away now that the foots in the door. Go figure? A step back or forward?

  about 1 decade ago

Nice article...I know there's the new law against texting while driving but in some counties - like Philadelphia - cell phone use has been banned while driving for quite some time. Does this new state law supersede the Philly law so the drivers in Philly can talk on cell phones now? God, I hope not!

  about 1 decade ago
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