By Brad Segall
RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s new texting ban takes effect Thursday and that has suburban police departments gearing up for enforcing the new law.
The law makes texting behind the wheel a primary offense. That means police can pull you over for simply texting on a wireless device.
Police departments are pleased about the new law, but along with it come some challenges that police officers may face when it comes to enforcing it.
Radnor Police Sergeant Christopher Flanagan says that’s because talking on a cell phone while driving is still legal, “So people will tell you that they are dialing a number, checking the phone or whatever else. So, the officer is going to have to interpret the entire situation and make a recommendation based on their expertise.”
Cheltenham Township Police Chief John Norris calls it a good law, but worries about whether the citations will hold up in court if they’re challenged. “It’s going to be hard to determine when a person is texting, I think. I think when you do that there’s going to be a lot of defenses for the person to say to the judge they weren’t texting and we’ll have to see where it goes from there.”
“It certainly is a problem,” says Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harra. “I certainly see people out there all the time texting while they are driving. I can’t even text while I’m sitting, so I don’t know how they do this while they are driving. I guess only time will tell. Another tool in the toolbox to help deter some accidents would be nice.”
Those who are caught will be fined $50. The new law supersedes Philadelphia’s law, which prohibited the use of any handheld device behind the wheel.