Pa. ban on texting while driving begins this week

    Pennsylvania’s new ban on texting while driving goes into effect Thursday. Under the new law, police can pull drivers over if they’re seen texting or emailing on the go.

    The hope is that the texting ban will cut down on distracted driving and accidents. That’s something the state’s Department of Transportation supports, says Penn DOT spokeswoman Erin Waters.

    “PennDOT is certainly pleased with any law or efforts to improve highway safety and will use all the tools in our toolbox to ensure that motorists are educated about the law,” she said. “We certainly hope that all folks driving through Pennsylvania obey the law.”

    The state law limits only texting and supersedes a tougher city law in Philadelphia — drivers in the City of Brotherly Love will be able to pull out their phones again to make calls.

    The man who wrote Philadelphia’s cell-phone ban, Councilman Bill Green, is disappointed. He says the state law lacks teeth.

    He may be onto something. The state of New Jersey replaced its text-only ban in 2008 with ban on all phone use while driving. In the year preceding the change, police issued 16,000 tickets. In the 12 months after the law was expanded, they issued 118,000.

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