The availability, affordability and accessibility of new telephonic technologies have made it easier for drivers of all ages in Philadelphia to have texting capabilities right at their fingertips at any time. According to the CTIA, a wireless international association, by the end of year 2013 in the United States alone an estimated 153 billion text messages were sent. Additionally, the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan reports that nearly 25 percent of teenagers have responded to a text message while driving.
In general, distracted driving is referred to as any activity which takes away a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving. This includes texting and use of a cellphone. Between 2011 and 2012, the United States experienced a nine percent increase in injuries in car accidents involving distracted drivers. This trend and car accidents resulting from distracted driving has led most states to enact laws against texting and driving.
Currently, in Pennsylvania an anti-texting law is in place. The law prohibits and makes it an offense for any driver to use an interactive wireless communication device to read, write or send a text while driving. The definition of IWCD also includes devices such as a smartphones, portable computers such as an iPad or other similar devices.
However, under the current Pennsylvania law a GPS device or system that is integrated into the vehicle or affixed in the vehicle is exempt from the anti-texting ban. An individual faces a $50 fine for violating the anti-texting law. Even though the offense is not included on a car driver’s driving record, it is included on a commercial driver’s driving record.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, “Anti-Texting Law Facts,” accessed Jan. 19, 2015