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Posted on: July 7, 2020

Road Rules: Anti-Texting law

Pennsylvania’s anti-texting law, effective March 8, 2012, encourages motorists to put their full focus on driving.  The law can be found under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code section 3316- Prohibiting text-based communications.  

What the Law Does 

  • The law prohibits as a primary offense any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based communication while his or her vehicle is in motion. 
  • Defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, personal digital assistant, smart phone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet. 
  • Defines a text-based communication as a text message, instant message, email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD. 
  • Institutes a $50 fine for convictions under this section. 
  • Makes clear that this law supersedes and preempts any local ordinances restricting the use of interactive wireless devices by drivers. 

The penalty is a summary offense with a $50 fine, plus court costs and other fees. 

The violation carries no points as a penalty and will not be recorded on the driver record for non-commercial drivers.  It will be recorded on commercial drivers’ records as a non-sanction violation.

The texting ban does NOT include the use of a GPS device, a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus or school bus.  The law does not authorize the seizure of an IWCD.

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