House Amendment: Primary Offense To Text And Drive

Senate Bill 314 would ban reading, writing or sending a text message while driving.

From State Rep. Josh Shapiro's Office:

HARRISBURG - The state House on Tuesday adopted an amendment, sponsored by state Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, to make Pennsylvania’s roads safer by making it a primary offense to text while driving. Shapiro’s amendment to S.B. 314 was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 128-69. 

Senate Bill 314 would ban reading, writing or sending a text message while driving. Shapiro’s amendment would expand the legislation to make it a primary offense, allowing a driver to be pulled over for violating the law as opposed to a secondary offense which would result in a fine after an accident occurs.

After the bipartisan adoption of Shapiro’s amendment, the Republican House leadership used a procedural maneuver to stop the underlying bill from moving to a final vote.

"While I am pleased with the bipartisan support my amendment received in the House, I am extremely disappointed in the House Republican leadership and their partisan maneuvering to keep this important public safety measure from becoming law in Pennsylvania," Shapiro said. "This is an issue of paramount importance and is long overdue. Every day they delay in passing this bill, is potentially another day when accidents can occur on our roadways.”

Shapiro has long advocated for a statewide ban on texting and talking on hand-held cell phones while driving and first introduced this legislation in 2006. Nine states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving.

Shapiro represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County. For more information, visit www.pahouse.com/Shapiro.

Erik Wood October 29, 2011 at 08:43 PM
I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away. I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws. Erik Wood, owner OTTER LLC OTTER app
Teresa McMinn November 01, 2011 at 09:45 PM
The bill to outlaw texting while driving was approved by the Senate and now heads to the governor for his signature.


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