Texting while driving is rampant on roads across Pennsylvania, but police are virtually powerless to prevent it, due to the weak law adopted in 2012, writes Justine McDaniel for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
From 2013 to 2017, just 8,700 citations were issued for texting while driving under the new rules, with only around 0.1 percent of Pennsylvanians receiving a ticket.
Distracted driving is a leading factor in accidents, and in a national survey, four out of five Americans said they use their phone while driving for some purpose.
The main reason is the law does not have a hands-free requirement for drivers. Unlike the laws in neighboring states, Pennsylvania’s only bans sending and receiving text-based communications, leaving motorists free to dial or surf the Internet without any penalty.
“The way the law is written, it kind of ties our hands,” said Buckingham Township Police Lt. J.R. Landis. “People simply say, ‘Oh, I was using it as GPS.’”
However, Chester and Delaware counties did see an improvement last year. Chester County went from 120 to 281 citations issued between 2016 and 2017, while Delaware County increased from 127 to 208 over the same period.
Read more about texting while driving in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.