Pennsylvania on verge of texting-while-driving ban

| Thursday, November 03, 2011

A bill on its way to the governor’s desk would add Pennsylvania to the growing list of states to pass laws intended to curb a growing distraction behind the wheel.

The Pennsylvania Senate voted 45-5 to sign off on House changes to a bill that would ban texting while driving and make it a primary offense, meaning law enforcement would not need another reason to pull someone over. The vote cleared the way for the bill to move to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk for his expected signature.

If signed into law, the rule would take effect in four months. Violators would face $50 fines.

Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Chambersburg, said the change is needed to address a growing danger on roadways.

“People across Pennsylvania are saying enough is enough. It is time to stop this,” Kauffman said in remarks. “We have passed this ban to give law enforcement teeth for those who may jeopardize others while they’re on the road.”

As truckers are aware, the federal government already prohibits texting while driving for commercial operators. At the state level, Pennsylvania would be one of 35 states to outlaw combining driving with texting. Only three states – Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia – limit enforcement to a secondary offense.

North Dakota and Maine have given law enforcement authority in the past couple of months to hand out tickets for the distracted driving practice. As of Jan. 1, 2012, Nevada police will implement their own ban.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.

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