PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Pennsylvania Texting Ban Takes Effect Thursday

A law banning texting while driving in Pennsylvania that was signed by Gov. Corbett last November will go into effect when the clock strikes midnight on Thursday. The law makes it a primary offense to send text messages, emails, or to browse the internet, which means that you can get pulled over for using your phone without violating any other driving laws.

Smartphones can be used for GPS purposes and you’re still allowed to make phone calls in the car, which will make it difficult for police officers to prove a crime was committed, as they are not given authority to seize cell phones under the law. This means that without strong evidence that a driver was texting, most will be let off with warnings if they claim they were just dialing a phone number.

Maria Finn, a Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman, said that they hope the law will educate drivers about the potential consequences of sending text messages while driving, resulting in voluntary compliance. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be pulling people over.

“Troopers will attempt to use observations of the driver while the vehicle is in motion to determine if traffic stops are warranted in any particular situation,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “For instance, if a motorist continues to manipulate the device over an extended distance with no apparent voice communication.”

Those caught violating the law will face a $50 fine, which doesn’t include any points on the driver’s license. This is nothing in comparison to texting laws in states such as New Jersey, where the first offense carries a $200 fine and recurring violations can cost the offender up to $600 in addition to points and a license suspension.

The law, which was debated for years, comes in response to an increasing number of accidents related to distracted driving. In 2010, there were nearly 14,000 such accidents in Pennsylvania. Let’s be honest, those that text-and-drive are going to continue to text-and-drive, but it remains to be seen if this law will be more effective than similar bans in other states, which have done little to actually stop behind-the-wheel texters.

About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


More by Zach

Penn Stater Named To Olympic Committee’s Centre for Safe Sport’s Inaugural Board

The Center for Safe Sport was recently created to tackle the issue of protecting America’s athletes. Penn State will be represented on the inaugural board by chief ethics and compliance officer Regis Becker.

A Valentine’s Day Trio Of Penn State Love Stories

Penn State To Celebrate 161st Birthday Next Week


Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Sauve originally committed to Vermont in 2015, but flipped to Penn State at the eleventh hour and will join the Nittany Lions next season.

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Student Life

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Penn State Names Guadagnino Vice President For Administration

Guadagnino will continue to provide legal advice as associate general counsel in addition to his duties as vice president.

As Disciplinary Hearing Opens, Expert Says Baldwin Failed To Properly Represent Ex-Penn State Administrators

A Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board hearing began on Tuesday in Pittsburgh for former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, who is accused of violating rules of professional conduct in her representation of former university administrators during the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend