As a Pennsylvania resident, you likely know the potential charges and penalties you may face for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, distracted driving is becoming a frequent problem as more smartphones and other personal electronic devices become essential for daily life. It is important to understand that there are state regulations that prohibit you from using a cellphone or tablet while you are behind the wheel. The penalties also change slightly if you are a truck driver.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides information on the state's distracted driving laws. According to the DOT, using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device while driving is a primary offense. The DOT specifically lists several actions: sending, reading and writing texts, emails and instant messages. Essentially, if you use your device to engage in written communication while your vehicle is moving, you may face a $50 fine. You may also have to pay additional expenses for court costs.
This texting ban does make an exception for some GPS navigation devices. You may use such a device if it is physically or electronically connected to your vehicle. Additionally, the law does not allow police officers to seize your phone. Currently, the only penalty for texting and driving is the fine of $50. If you are not a commercial driver, you may not get a charge on your driving record or penalty points on your license. As a commercial truck driver, however, you may receive a non-sanction violation and get the information about the charge placed on your record.
This information on distracted driving laws is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.