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Texting & Driving/Distracted Driving Accidents

In Pennsylvania, there are over 10,000 car accidents caused by distracted driving, with 10% of them attributed to the use of handheld cellular phones, which is not prohibited in this state.

Using a Cell Phone

You are allowed to use your handheld cell phone while driving in Pennsylvania. Several Pennsylvania localities used to prohibit cell phone use (Philadelphia, Erie, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre), but the 2012 statewide texting law superseded and eliminated these local ordinances.

Would a Ban on Handheld Cellular Phone Use Reduce Accidents and Injuries?

The University of California, Berkeley released their first study on the effects of banning handheld cellular phones while driving in March of 2012. The study was conducted based on the car accidents that occurred in the first four years of the ban in California. In this study, it was revealed that deaths caused by traffic accidents were reduced by 22% and that deaths which were specifically attributed to the use of handheld cellular phones were reduced by 47%. Finally, the deaths of drivers who use handheld cellular phones were reduced at about the same rate. Ultimately, the ban dramatically reduced the use of distracting handheld cellular phones while driving, which increased road safety.

Pennsylvania‘s Texting Laws

You are not allowed to text while driving in Pennsylvania. You cannot use any IWCD (Interactive Wireless Communication Device) to send, read, or write messages. These devices include handheld cellular phones, personal digital assistants, mobile computers, and any other device that can be used to send and receive messages or browse the web. Any written communication (text message, instant message, email, etc.) composed or received on an IWCD is included in this law.

Enforcement of Texting Laws

Fines are in place to enforce the texting laws in Pennsylvania. If you violate these laws, you will have a fine of $50. You can also be pulled over for texting, because this is a primary law. That means that the police don’t have to have any other reason to pull you over, but can do so if they see you texting and can write a citation for this offense without any other violations.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s texting laws and how they may affect your auto accident claim, contact an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

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