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Pennsylvania’s Texting Law Goes Into Effect, Supersedes Philadelphia’s Cell Laws

By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s new no-texting-while-driving law went into effect Thursday morning. But Philadelphia’s top-cop says the law is a “step backwards” for Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s distracted driving law was similar to New Jersey’s — no mobile devices while driving, unless you had a head-set or bluetooth. And Philadelphia police have issued 31,000 citations to drivers disobeying that law.

But today, that law in Philadelphia is gone, as the new Pennsylvania law kicks in. Cops can pull you over for texting, they can’t if you’re dialing a phone or chatting on a handset, which is a secondary offense.

“I think it actually weakened it, quite frankly,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says of the new law. “But Harrisburg passed the law, so we have to abide by it, but I actually think it watered down what we had here in Philadelphia.”

Ramsey says they will do their best to enforce the law. But many law enforcement officials across the state have said, the way the law is worded, it’s going to be tough to prove someone was actually texting, and not just dialing their phone.

“Hopefully at some point and time, the legislators there (in Harrisburg) will realize that separating those two things out don’t make a lot of sense,” Ramsey said.

Some Philadelphia residents, tired of seeing drivers distracted by cell phones, aren’t as diplomatic.

“Let those individuals that are building this law, let them get hit by somebody who’s driving with a phone to their ear or dialing a phone and then their attitude will be a lot different.”

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  • text this | chestercountyramblings

    […] I am glad the texting while driving ban has gone into effect in PA even if it is kind of dumb that the new state law kind of supersedes Philadelphia’s existing law. […]

  • Alan

    Yet another brilliant insight from the Chief. What in the world? Philly is a total wreck, the philly police are being arrested at least once a week for corruption and the leader is concerned about whether or not he can pull someone over for a secondary offense?? Give me a break, John Timoney please come back..

  • ViVi

    Who of us is so important that we have to be talking or texting while driving? If we were that indispensible, we’d be in the back of a limo and not driving ourselves at all.

  • jon

    Driving while talking on a handheld cell phone is more dangerous than driving drunk

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    […] 8:10 Pennsylvania’s law banning texting while driving goes into effect today. […]

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