📳 PA law currently bans texting from a hand hell phone while driving

📳 The new law carries a $50 fine with points

📳 It is named after the victim of a head-on crash with a distracted trucker


Pennsylvania will join New Jersey and 24 other states in banning the use of hand held cell phones while behind the wheel.

Drivers in Pennsylvania currently are prohibited from sending, reading or writing a text while holding a phone behind the wheel. The new bill that  Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's office said he will sign also bans speaking on a phone.The bill carries a $50 fine with no points.

All drivers will receive a warning for the first 12 months after the bill becomes law. The bill allows for the use of Bluetooth and speaker technology and emergency calls.

“After more than a decade of relentless work to enact this legislation, the passage of Senate Bill 37 marks a monumental victory for Pennsylvania,” said State Sen. Rosemary Brown, R-Lakawanna. “As this bill heads to the governor’s desk, I am filled with gratitude for those who helped us get this far, and I know this measure will protect drivers, prevent crashes and save lives. This bill is more than legislation – it is a reminder of the power of perseverance and the impact we can have when we prioritize public safety.”

State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia, who serves as the majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee and a supporter of the bill said data shows that distracted driving is the cause for more crashes than driving under the influence

“In the past, we confronted DUIs with harsher penalties because we recognized the danger it caused. I’m happy we did the work to get this bill passed and treated it with the same amount of alarm."

en. Rosemary Brown speaking at her distracted driving press conference, where she unveiled Senate Bill 37 (State Sen. Rosemary Parks)
en. Rosemary Brown speaking at her distracted driving press conference, where she unveiled Senate Bill 37 (State Sen. Rosemary Parks)

"Paul Miller's Law"

The bill was named after Paul Miller who died at the age of 21 in 2010 in a crash with the distracted driver of a tractor trailer. His parents Paul and Eileen Miller helped push the legislation, according to Brown.

“I find solace knowing Paul’s legacy will be a beacon of protection for every driver and passenger on Pennsylvania’s roads," Eileen Miller said in a statement.

There are two other provisions to the bill.

One requires minors to learn about distracted driving and include at least one question on the state driver’s exam about distracted driving, according to Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia, majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

The bill also includes a provision long-sought by the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus as a bulwark against racial profiling. That provision requires bigger police departments, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, to collect and publicly report data on traffic stops, including a driver's race.

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