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March 2012 Archives

WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE ON DISTRACTED DRIVING?

Pennsylvania lawmakers have drawn the line as to what will soon be considered illegal driving practices. New provisions in the law will go into effect in March 2012 to attempt to limit the use of "interactive wireless communications devices." This term includes the use of wireless telephones, smart phones, portable or mobile computers or other similar devices, but does not include GPS or navigation systems. The changes to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code will outlaw driving while using such devices to send, read or write a text-based communication.This offense is a primary offense, which means that law enforcement personnel can issue a citation for the offense even if the driver is not violating any other section of the Vehicle Code. In contrast, the seat belt law in Pennsylvania is a secondary offense - this means that an adult driver must be cited for some other violation before an officer can add the lack of use of a seat belt to the citation. The fine for a driver who commits the new summary offense of using an interactive wireless device in violation of the statute is $50.The new law makes no move to control the use of wireless communication devices for telephone calls which is something that was debated by the legislature. Thus the question arises: does the new legislation go far enough to discourage distracted driving?
Distracted driving includes activities such as:

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