Distracted driving has become one of America’s leading causes of preventable car accidents, injuries, and deaths. While this can include any form of risky multi-tasking – from personal grooming and eating or drinking to conversing with passengers or reading maps – it most notably includes text messaging and the use of handheld smart phones. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited distracted driving as a national epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 victims in 2016 alone, and which is a leading factor behind recent surges in fatal traffic accidents nationwide.
With such alarming data on distracted driving collected in recent years, many states across the country have taken steps to regulate the use of cell phones behind the wheel. This includes Pennsylvania, which enforces the following laws:
- State law prohibits all drivers from texting while driving.
- Motorists are prohibited from wearing headphones and earbuds while driving.
- Talking on a handheld cell phone is illegal only for commercial drivers.
While there is a texting ban in place in Pennsylvania, it has not been very effective, nor has it been successfully enforced, according to newly released data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Additionally, unlike other states, Pennsylvania does not have a law regulating handheld cell phone use for non-commercial drivers, meaning cell phone use that isn’t considered texting, such as using apps, e-mail, or placing calls.