Thursday marks the day that Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to impose penalties on those who are caught texting while driving a vehicle. Various police departments across the state are preparing their officers to begin enforcing the new law, but many people worry that it will be next to impossible to properly ticket victims.
For instance, whereas here in California, we have a cell phone ban in place, Pennsylvania has no such law on the books. It’s still legal to talk on a cell phone, so cops in that state are going to have a difficult time proving that the offender wasn’t simply dialing a phone number or looking down at his phone for some other type of information.
Offenders that are caught will be tagged with a fine of $50, but officers wonder if drivers won’t be able to challenge that fine in court. Unless a text can be distinctly proven, the person hit with the fine can simply profess that he or she was engaging in some other activity with his phone.
The law that goes into effect, being statewide, will take precedence over a Philadelphia law that had prohibited all handheld devices.
As a personal injury lawyer in San Jose, I’m glad to see a state take a step in the right direction, but I can understand the challenges they’re about to face. The burden of proof might be hard to overcome, but the fact that they’re doing something to promote safety is welcome news to an San Jose auto accident lawyer like myself.