The results of car accidents can be devastating, and the government is taking notice. In December 2011, Governor Tom Corbett approved a law that banned all text messaging while driving.
The ban makes texting at any point behind the wheel illegal and outlines serious consequences for perpetrators.
A fine of $50 is given to anyone caught driving and texting simultaneously. The fine is doubled if the texting occurs in a school zone.
Law officers are permitted to stop a car and write citations if they have suspicion for texting alone.
Texting behind the wheel means texting at anytime in the driver’s seat is illegal. This includes red lights and stop signs; however, the driver can pull off to the side of the road, place the car in park and proceed to send a text if necessary.
While the texting ban is a step in the right direction for instituting safe driving in Pennsylvania, many cities fail to address actually talking on a cell phone. It is true that Harrisburg and Philadelphia both have zero tolerance for cell phone use while driving, but other cities, such as Pittsburgh, remain unaffected.
“Honestly, I think it’s a travesty that more people don’t listen to and follow these laws,” senior Michael Scaglione said.
A push for stricter cell phone laws exists despite this ban on texting. Bills will be voted on this year, including one that would ban texting nationwide.
Senior Kayla Lesko thinks this could be highly beneficial to other drivers on the road.
“I’m glad they did this. They should have done the texting ban sooner, and while they’re at it, they should ban talking on the phone, too. As we see everyday, there are a lot of people who can’t drive while doing those things,” she said.
Sophomore Jared Davenport explained that, for him, the texting ban meant more than just being a law to vaguely follow.
“I’m for it. I know a couple of people who have been in accidents while texting,” he said.
More bills will be voted on later this year involving cell phone use while driving.