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Pennsylvania Enacts Law Banning Texting While Driving

At long last, the Pennsylvania legislature has passed the law making texting while driving illegal throughout the entire state of PA. On March 8, 2012, it became illegal to text while you are driving.

The new law makes it a primary offence when drivers send, read or write a text message from an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD), which includes the following:
  • cell phones,
  • personal digital assistants,
  • smartphones,
  • portable or mobile computer or a similar device that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the internet.
If a driver texts while driving, he/she will be fined $50.00. 

The new law is a step in the right direction to stop distracted driving; however, it still leaves many questions and concerns with regard to its effectiveness.  One concern is that the law does not restrict the use of cell phones to talk while driving.  Prior to March 8, 2012, cities such as Philadelphia and Harrisburg had local city ordinances which limited the use of handheld cell phones and text messaging; however, the new state law preempts these local ordinances.

Another question is how can police officers distinguish between a driver who is making a call and a driver who is texting?

Distracted driving, including talking on the phone and texting while driving, leads to serious accidents and injuries.  Even though a driver will not be ticketed when he talks on the phone while driving, it does not mean he will not have other legal liabilities.  The driver who talks on the phone and causes a car accident can still be sued by injured parties.  Further, the distracted driver can be liable for punitive damages as discussed in the Northampton County, Pennsylvania Court case Xander v. Kiss.  To read about this case and punitive damages claims in a cell phone car accident case, read our free legal article about the kinds of claims viable in distracted driving accident cases.

Help After Being Injured in a Texting While Driving Accident

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident because of distracted driving or texting while driving in PA or NJ, contact our experienced PA and NJ personal injury lawyers at White and Williams.  1-877-944-8396. We will provide a free, no obligation consultation on your case.

**This website does not provide legal advice.  Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. 

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