Pennsylvania Bans Texting while Driving

John Egan

Pennsylvania has become the 35th state to ban texting while driving.

On Nov. 9, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a bill that prohibits motorists from sending or receiving text messages while driving. The ban takes effect in 120 days. A driver who violates the law can be fined $50.

Pennsylvania still allows talking on a cellphone while driving.

The new law makes texting behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning that police officers can pull over motorists for that violation alone.

"No text message is worth a human life. The message of this legislation is drive now and text later," Corbett says.

In 2010, distracted driving played a part in nearly 14,000 crashes in Pennsylvania, with nearly 1,100 of those crashes involving a handheld cellphone.

One of the sponsors of the legislation, state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, says the ban on texting is "one of the most important things we can do to prevent needless tragedies. Texting is one of the most dangerous distracted driving activities that motorists engage in. When you text, you have to take your eyes off the road, you aren't paying attention, and the consequences can be deadly."

To find out whether your state bans texting while driving, visit the website of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

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