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Posted on: May 11, 2023

MPD Informs Public on Distracted Driving


About 3,000 people die in crashes involving a distracted driver every year, according to the NHTSA. 

Distracted driving deaths

What is the Federal Government doing? 

In 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving government-owned vehicles or when driving privately-owned vehicles on official government business. 

In 2010, the Federal Railroad Administration banned cell phone and electronic device use by railroad operating employees on the job.

 In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving. 

In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers and drivers carrying hazardous materials. 

In 2021, Congress provided resources to add distracted driving awareness as part of driver’s license exams as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation released the National Roadway Safety Strategy. Part of the strategy includes supporting vehicle technology systems that detect distracted driving. 

NHTSA has several campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, including their annual “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign, which began in April 2014. 

NHTSA has issued voluntary guidelines to promote safety by discouraging the introduction of both original, in-vehicle, and portable/aftermarket electronic devices in vehicles. 

CDC has developed the Parents Are the Key campaign, which helps parents, pediatricians, and communities help keep teen drivers safe on the road.

What is Pennsylvania doing? 

 The distracted driving law in PA requires drivers to refrain from using handheld devices for written communication only. 

Texting and driving laws in PA ban drivers from texting as a primary offense. 

Novice drivers and those with learner’s permits cannot operate handheld or hands free devices. 

Those with commercial driving licenses (CDL) are subject to the same distracted driving laws that prevent other drivers from communicating via text on their handheld devices. 

Distracted driving penalties for non-commercial offenders involve a fine and the cost of court fees, but no penalty points will be added to driving records. Commercial drivers, however, will have a non-sanction violation added to their driving records. 

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