Pennsylvania's new law prohibiting texting while driving went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 8. It makes texting while driving a primary offense carrying a $50 fine.
The new law specifically does the following:
Makes it a primary offense to use an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based message.
Defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, personal digital assistant, Smartphone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet.
Defines a text-based message as a text message, instant message, email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD.
Institutes a $50 fine for convictions.
Makes clear that this law supersedes and preempts any local ordinances restricting the use of interactive wireless devices by drivers.
PennDOT: In 2010 handheld phones contributed to more than 1000 crashes and 11 deaths.
In 2010, there were nearly 14,000 crashes in Pennsylvania where distracted driving played a role, with 68 people dying in those crashes.
For more on PA's Driving Laws, including the new texting law go to
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. PennDOT launched "Just Drive PA," a new initiative aimed at improving safety on Pennsylvania roadways.
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