Pa. ban on texting while driving largely unenforceable, police say

    Pennsylvania’s ban on texting while driving is just about six months old. 

    Despite the words of lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett, who said the law would crack down on distracted driving, police say it ties their hands.

    Adam Reed, a state police trooper in Harrisburg, says police officers can’t seize a driver’s phone under the law.

    “Meaning we can’t look at the phone to see if in fact they were texting,” he said. “And, in some cases, they could be checking the time, for example, or getting directions from their cell phone.”

    Using a cell phone while driving is still allowed. As a result, Reed says, a decision on whether to issue a citation comes down to whether a driver admits to texting while behind the wheel.

    The texting ban was stripped of language that would have expanded it to ban all use of handheld cell phones while driving.

    In response to concerns about its enforceability, Corbett and lawmakers pointed to the State Police’s backing for the texting ban.

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