PA’s New Anti-Texting Law to Take Effect Thursday

AAA Mid-Atlantic announced it a billboard campaign to educate motorists about Pennsylvania’s new no-texting-while-driving law. The law takes effect Thursday, March 8th and is a primary offense with a $50 fine.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is sponsoring five bilboards in the Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton/Bloomsburg area, for four weeks starting next week (locations in Plains, Edwardsville, Hazleton, Hanover and Wilkes-Barre). The billboards say “dnt txt n drV”, “It’s The Law” and have a link to AAA’s website, www.aaa.com/notext. A picture of the billboard can be seen on the site.

“It will be illegal to text while driving in this state – and we want to make sure that everyone knows about this important new highway safety law,” said Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “According to federal research, sending or reading a text, takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded,” noted Lardear. In 2010 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes.

AAA has long been at the forefront of the distracted driving issue, with a national campaign to pass texting bans in all 50 states. In Pennsylvania, AAA closely supported Senator Tommy Tomlinson’s bill which was signed into law November 9th by Governor Corbett.

AAA’s own research finds that 35 percent of drivers admit to reading or sending text messages while driving – even though 95 percent of drivers agree that it’s dangerous. It’s “do as I say, not as I do.”

Specifics of the ban on text messaging that was supported by AAA and approved by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on November 9, 2011:

Prohibits as a primary offense all drivers from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text message.
Defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, personal digital assistant, smart phone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the internet.
Defines a text-based message as a text message, instant message email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD.
Institutes a $50 fine for convictions under this section.
Makes clear that this law supersedes and preempts any local ordinances restriction the use of interactive wireless devices by drivers.
This law takes effect on March 8, 2012.

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