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Pennsylvania set to ban distracted driving in a bid to lower accident rates

In a bid to reduce accidents and keep auto insurance premiums low, Pennsylvania lawmakers are working on a bill that would make texting behind the wheel illegal.

The Pennsylvania bill, H.B. 2070, should see action by year-end, its backers hope.

It would fine offenders $50, an amount that some see as low, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. But members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives see the bill’s passage as likely. Rhode Island announced this week that it is banning texting, becoming the 19th state to do so.

AAA and Verizon Wireless support H.B. 2070, says the Post-Gazette. AAA spokesman Brian Newbacher said that the organization “supports a statewide ban on texting because the significant … distractions involved make it an extremely dangerous activity.”

AAA has also called for anti-texting legislation on a nationwide basis. In a letter to Congress late last month, AAA called texting “one of the most dangerous distracting activities on our roadways.” Bans can be an effective deterrent, the organization notes. Texting while driving dropped 70 percent in California after a ban was enacted to ensure that accident rates and auto insurance costs stay low.

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Posted: November 12, 2009

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