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PA News

It’s Now Illegal to Use Hand-held Devices While Driving in Pennsylvania

Hands-free devices are still permitted.

Governor Josh Shapiro signed Senate Bill 37, known as Paul Miller’s Law, into law today in Pennsylvania. This new rule makes it illegal to use hand-held devices like phones while driving. Pennsylvania is now the 29th state to enforce such a law, aimed at preventing accidents caused by drivers distracted by their devices.

Paul Miller’s Law was named after Paul Miller, who died in 2010 because a distracted driver caused a crash. The law allows police to issue tickets to drivers who are caught using their phones without hands-free setups. Drivers can still make calls, use GPS, or listen to music if they do so using technology that keeps their hands free.

According to a report by PennDOT, distracted driving was the leading cause of traffic deaths in 2023, showing a rise in deaths by 2.25% from the previous year. Over 11,000 crashes were reported due to distracted driving.

The passage of Senate Bill 37 is the result of over a decade of efforts by many, including Senator Rosemary Brown, who sponsored the bill, and PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. This law marks a significant advancement in public safety and aims to prevent future tragedies on Pennsylvania roads.

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The law also seeks to eliminate bias in traffic stops by requiring police to record details about the drivers they pull over, including their race, ethnicity, and gender. This information will be reported publicly every year. This initiative was supported by Governor Shapiro and the Legislative Black Caucus to ensure fairness in policing.

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