Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Philadelphia Texting While Driving Ban

Cell phones have made the lives of people much easier but they have also become a major distraction for drivers. Pennsylvania recently passed a law that bans the use of a cellular device to send text messages while the person is behind the wheel. Texting while driving is subject to primary enforcement, which means that law officers can stop offenders for that reason alone. Drivers are still allowed to use hands free devices and talk on their cell phones, which will make it difficult for law officers to determine who is texting.

The punishment for texting while behind the wheel is a $50 fine, no points are received on the driver’s license, and their phone cannot be confiscated. If the driver has an urgent need to send a text they should pull over and park in order to send their text message. Since it is still legal to talk on the phone while driving, law officers have to observe the driver for a longer time before they can pull them over. The law officers must be certain that the driver is texting and they have guidelines that they are to follow in order to determine if the driver is texting.

This law, which exists on the state level rather than through the Philadelphia criminal code, still strongly affects Philadelphia area residents for who see texting while driving as such a common occurrence. Drivers naturally reach for their phone when they hear it go off and they will text without thinking about the consequence of the action. A $50 fine may not seem like much; but it is paying $50 to send a single text message. Distracted driving is a serious problem, in 2010 there were 14,000 accidents caused by distracted driving most of which because of texting. Teens are the main culprits of these distracted driving accidents because the era of cell phones is based around teens.

This law was enacted in order to stop distracted driving because it is a major cause of accidents. Many people believe that the new Android and Iphone services that allow the user send a text message using their voice allows them to get around the law. The driver is still sending a text message so this is illegal even though the driver is not using their hands to send the message. This law is intended to decrease the rate of distracted driving accidents that involve texting by intimidating people with the threat of a fine.

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