Texting While Driving a Car is Illegal

February 10th, 2012, 10:41 AM

Texting while driving an auto accounts for thousands of car accidents each year. This is not surprising because text messaging requires the visual, manual, and cognitive attention of the driver. As such, texting is a very risky form of driver distraction. Due to these safety concerns, Pennsylvania law prohibits texting while driving a car. The law prohibits an operator of a car from sending, reading or writing a text while the auto is in motion. A text is defined as a text message, instant message, electronic mail or other written communication composed or received on an "interactive wireless communications device." The law defines an interactive wireless communication device as follows: A wireless telephone, personal digital assistant, smart phone, portable or mobile computer or similar device which can be used for voice communication, texting, e-mailing, browsing the Internet or instant messaging. The term does not include any of the following: a device being used exclusively as a global positioning or navigation system; a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle; or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus or school bus.


The actual language of the statute that bans texting while driving a car is found at 75 Pa.C.S. Section 3316 and it states as follows: 1. (a) Prohibition.--No driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway in this Commonwealth while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based communication when the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in an interactive wireless communications device for the purpose of activating or deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call. (b) (Reserved). (c) Seizure.--The provisions of this section shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of an interactive wireless communications device, unless otherwise provided by law. (d) Penalty.--A person who violates subsection (a) commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50. (e) Preemption of local ordinances.--In accordance with section 6101 (relating to applicability and uniformity of title), this section supersedes and preempts all ordinances of any municipality with regard to the use of an interactive wireless communications device by the driver of a motor vehicle. (f) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "text-based communication" means a text message, instant message, electronic mail or other written communication composed or received on an interactive wireless communications device.


If you have been involved in a car accident due to the fault of a distracted driver, call (814) 456-4000 to speak with Robert C. LeSuer or Craig A. Markham at the Elderkin Law Firm in Erie, PA and to arrange for a free consultation. Your initial meeting with one of the attorneys in our Erie, PA office is absolutely free and is without any obligation to hire us. We will provide you with a free initial evaluation of your case and will answer your questions about the law. If you choose the Elderkin Law firm to represent you, you will pay no fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for your injuries and losses.

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