TEXTING AND DRIVING IN PENNSYLVANIA: SENATE PASSES BILL SB314
Texting while driving is quickly becoming one of our nation's most endemic problems. With each year that passes the number of car crashes due to texting while driving increases. It is a dangerous activity that too many people, young and old alike, engage in. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not yet have a law restricting this type of activity. However, on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011, the Senate approved a bill, SB314, sponsored by Senator Tommy Tomlinson that would make texting and driving illegal. The consequences would include a $100 fine. The bill was passed by an overwhelming 41-8, and has been sent to the House of Representatives. Another more rigid distracted-driving bill concerning texting and driving in the House is currently delayed. Representatives are having a tough time deciding whether texting while driving and other relatable offenses should be primary or secondary violations.
The Senate's bill not only outlaws texting and driving but also makes other cell phone activity illegal. If the bill is passed, you will not be able to e-mail, browse the web, or any other related activity. The bill would also make talking on the phone while driving a secondary offense. This means you cannot be pulled over for talking and driving, but can be cited for it as well if you are pulled over for a separate reason. The minority opposition believes that texting while driving should be a secondary offense, as opposed to a primary offense. They do not believe that making texting while driving a primary offense will reduce the number of people engaging in the activity.
Though people of all ages can be guilty of texting while driving, teenagers are the most likely to partake in this activity. In this sense, the Senate's bill approval comes at just the right time of year. According to a AAA study, teens are more likely to be involved in car accidents during the summer months. An average of 422 deaths occur each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as opposed to an average of 363 during the non-summer months. A ban on texting and driving could greatly reduce the number of accidents.
Another important aspect of this bill specifically targets teenagers and new drivers. Pennsylvania is one of seven states that does not have restrictions on the number of passengers junior drivers are allowed to have. This bill would change that and limit this number. When you are a new driver, driving alone can be scary enough. However, when junior drivers allow three, four, or even five other passengers in their car, they are increasing the amount of distractions on the road.
There is no reason not to wait until you are off the road to text. Again, texting while driving is an incredibly dangerous activity. Remember, if you are ever injured in an accident due to texting while driving, or any other negligent behavior, don't hesitate to contact our lawyers at White and Williams. We serve accident victims in all areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and always offer a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.