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Understanding Pennsylvania's Cell Phone Laws and Their Impact on Car Accident Cases

At every turn of your head you’d see an individual with their face stuffed in their phone screen. This still remains the case even as people are driving. Distracted driving as a whole has become a significant concern on the roads. Pennsylvania’s approach to the issue plays a key role in both preventing accidents and determining liability in car accident cases. Today, we walk through the specifics of the state’s cell phone law, the legal implications of using a cell phone while driving, and how these laws can be adopted or implemented nationwide. 

Pennsylvania's Cell Phone Law Explained

Back in 2012, Pennsylvania took a decisive step by adopting a texting while driving ban. This law, codified under Section 3316 of the Pennsylvania legal code, strictly prohibits all drivers from sending or reading text-based messages while driving. This includes text messages, instant messages, emails, and other text-based communications that utilize an interactive wireless communication device (IWCD), which could be a cell phone, tablet, or other electronic devices.

It's important to note that violating this law results in a $50 fine, though no points are assessed on the driver’s record. While the penalty might seem minimal, the existence of this law is crucial when determining fault in car accident scenarios where texting while driving was involved.

What is Still Legal?

While texting is off the table, the law does not prohibit all forms of cell phone use while driving. For instance, making phone calls, using GPS apps, or sending texts via systems integrated into the vehicle are all permissible. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation outlines these exceptions clearly, but it's essential to understand that such activities can still contribute to distracted driving incidents.

Legal Implications in Car Accident Cases

The legal landscape becomes particularly complex when a car accident involves a driver who was using their cell phone. If an accident occurred while a driver was texting, the case might be straightforward in proving negligence. However, if the cell phone was used for legal purposes, like navigation or making calls through an integrated system, proving distraction becomes more challenging.

In any event where cell phone use by any party contributed to an accident, experienced attorneys like those at Freeburn Law are critical. They have the expertise to navigate the complexities of such cases, including the acquisition and analysis of cell phone records to establish fault effectively.


Understanding and complying with Pennsylvania's cell phone laws not only helps in preventing potential accidents but also shapes the legal outcomes of accidents when they occur. Whether you're seeking to establish liability or defend against claims in a car accident case, knowing these laws is paramount.

For personalized legal advice or to learn more about how Pennsylvania’s cell phone law might affect your case, consider scheduling a consultation with experienced legal professionals. Staying informed and prepared can significantly influence the resolution of a car accident case.

Looking for help in the next step after an injury? Contact NextPhase Community today.

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