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What is Pennsylvania’s Cell Phone Law?

Cell Phone Use Causes Car Accidents

Pennsylvania adopted a texting while driving ban in 2012, but the law does not stop all cell phone use while driving. If someone was on their cell phone and caused an accident, they may be liable even if they weren’t breaking the law.

The experienced attorneys at Freeburn Law can review your case and determine if distracted driving was a cause of your accident. Contact us today at (717) 777-7777 to learn more or schedule your free consultation. Or, keep reading for an overview of Pennsylvania’s cell phone law and how it might apply to your case.

What Cell Phone Use is Banned in Pennsylvania?

Section 3316 of Pennsylvania legal code states that texting while driving is prohibited. The law prevents drivers from sending or reading text based messages while driving. This includes text messages, instant messages, emails, and other text based communications on an interactive wireless communication device (IWCD). An IWCD can be a cell phone, personal digital assistant, tablet, or computer.

This means that it is illegal to text while driving. The consequence is a $50 fine, but no points are assessed for the violation. The law is very basic and not very punitive, but it does set a precedent for finding fault in a car accident case in which someone was texting while driving.

What is Legal Cell Phone Activity While Driving?

They law does not prohibit all cell phone use while driving. Only text based communications are prohibited. 

According to the Pennsylvania DOT, these cell phone activities are legal in Pennsylvania:

  • Phone conversations
  • Sending and receiving text based communications via a hands free system electronically integrated into the vehicle
  • Using GPS apps or handheld systems

Even though these activities are not part of the ban, they can lead to distracted driving accidents. Drivers are expected to be responsible and aware of their surroundings at all times. As such, a distracted driver can be held liable in a personal injury case even if they weren’t breaking the law.

How Does Cell Phone Use Affect My Car Accident Case?

If a driver breaks the texting ban and causes an accident, the car accident case may be cut and dry. However, if they were using their cell phone legally, other factors may come into play. Likewise, if you were using your cell phone legally at the time of the accident, it could complicate your car accident case.

Proving that a driver was texting while driving or otherwise driving in a distracted manner can be a complicated matter best left to experienced attorneys. It requires delving into cell phone records, and obtaining those records legally. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these cases.

Allow Us to Review Your Car Accident Case

The Patch reported that Pennsylvania DOT logged a 27% increase in distracted driving accidents between 2020 and 2021, and that statistic is very telling. Text-based communications are not the only cause of distracted driving accidents, and cell phone use is a big part of that. Other distracted driving accidents are caused by eating and drinking while driving, adjusting the radio, interacting with other passengers, and looking at people or events happening off roadways.

The attorneys at Freeburn Law provide dedicated service to every client to get the most out of your car accident claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation in your distracted driving case.

Christina and Jessica are a dynamic duo. They will make sure everything that needs to be done will be done. They make sure to stay on top of things and will not leave you in the dark about anything. Highly recommend this firm.