On Wednesday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing police to fine drivers $100 for texting while driving.
Under the new bill, texting while driving would become a primary offense while talking on a cell phone and driving would be a secondary offense. Police officers would be able to pull over motorists solely for texting while driving. As a secondary offense, drivers could receive an additional fine for talking on the phone while driving if they are pulled over for another offense.
If approved, the new bill will also institute new laws for inexperienced drivers. Drivers with learner's permits or junior licenses will not be allowed to talk on cell phones at all while driving, even with a hands-free device. Those who have had their license for less than six months will not be allowed to have more than one passenger in the car under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member. And once they have their license for more than six months, young drivers will be not be allowed to have more than three passengers under 18 who are not immediate family members.
The bill would also make it illegal for all motorists to email, browse the Internet, or instant message while driving.
The Senate passed the bill with a vote 41-8 and now heads to the House for approval. Pennsylvania currently does not have laws deterring drivers from texting or talking on the phone while driving. To date, eight states prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving, and at least 30 have outlawed texting while driving.
For more information on distracted driving, visit EdgarSnyder.com.