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Pennsylvania Senate Gets Tougher On Texting While Driving

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The state Senate has taken a major step – approving an amendment that would ban texting while driving in Pennsylvania.

The state Senate has been reluctant to go as far as the House when addressing distracted driving. While the House has indicated its support for making texting and the use of hand-held cell phones while driving a primary offense, the Senate has so far only been willing to consider them as secondary offenses. But Tuesday, as the Senate debated a bill dealing with distracted driving and junior driver issues, Allegheny County Democrat Jim Ferlo offered an amendment on texting.

“Let’s ban text messaging – let’s make it a primary offense,” Ferlo requested.

Democrat John Wozniak disagrees.

“By making it a primary offense, I don’t think we’re really going to have anything that’s going to change out there except some very irate people.”

But the Senate went along with the amendment to make texting a primary offense and the bill into which it was inserted could get a vote as soon as today.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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  • Jeff Ferguson

    I think this is just one step in the process. Sure, you can make it illegal, but people will still do it… and blocking technology will only anger them.

    I’m a big fan of new apps like Onmaway ( that actually help by allowing users to automatically update friends, family, etc. with their location without having to touch their phone.

    Brilliant stuff!

  • Erik Wood

    I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app

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