Washington State has a new law going into effect later this month targeting distracted driving. This new law not only does not allow the use of a cell phone or any handheld electronic device but also does not allow many other forms of distractions such as eating, drinking, and smoking. This is an extreme change in the law that would allow the police to pull you over if they believe you were doing something that could have been distracting you from operating your vehicle safely. Pennsylvania has not gone this far with its ban on texting while driving, but that does not mean that a law like this will not make its way to Pennsylvania in the future.
Pennsylvania’s current law is as follows:
No driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway in this Commonwealth while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based communication when the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in an interactive wireless communications device for the purpose of activating or deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call. 75 PACSA § 3316.
The penalty for violating this statute is a fine of $50.00 plus cost.
The Laws in Pennsylvania are stricter on Commercial Vehicle Operators. They not only cannot text while operating a vehicle even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic, they cannot use any handheld cellular device. They must go hands free for everything, or pull off to the side of the road before operating such devices. 75 PACSA § 1621 and 1622.
If you are stopped for using your cell phone the police could use this situation to investigate other crimes such as Driving Under the Influence, Possession of Marijuana or Drugs. If the Police suspect there are drugs in the vehicle they are allowed to search your vehicle. So a simple issue of using your cell phone while driving is not only dangerous, but could led to a full blown search.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.