Pennsylvania bans texting while driving

| Friday, November 11, 2011

A new law in Pennsylvania adds the state to the growing list of states that have adopted rules intended to curb a growing driver distraction.

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday, Nov. 9, signed into law a bill to ban texting while driving and make it a primary offense, meaning law enforcement would not need another reason to pull someone over. The rule also applies to Internet use on a smartphone.

Starting March 9, 2012, violators would face $50 fines. SB314 also supersedes and pre-empts any local ordinances that cover texting while driving.

Corbett said the bill’s aim is to encourage anyone behind the wheel to stop the dangerous activity.

“There is no text message in the world worth the value of a human life,” Corbett said at the bill signing.

As truckers are aware, the federal government already prohibits texting while driving for commercial operators. At the state level, Pennsylvania is 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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