Pennsylvania Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving: A Landmark Step for Road Safety

Driving car and using phone

On June 5, 2024, Pennsylvania took a significant step towards improving road safety by enacting Senate Bill 37, also known as Paul Miller’s Law. This new legislation makes Pennsylvania the 29th state in the U.S. to prohibit the use of hand-held devices while driving. The law, named in honor of Paul Miller Jr., allows law enforcement officers to issue tickets to drivers caught using their phones without hands-free technology.

The Story Behind Paul Miller’s Law

Paul Miller Jr. tragically lost his life in 2010 due to a distracted driver who was reaching for a cell phone. Since then, his mother, Eileen Miller, has become a national advocate against distracted driving. Her relentless efforts have culminated in the passing of this law, aiming to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Eileen Miller expressed her relief and hope by saying, “This is for every family that is in Pennsylvania that doesn't have to have two state troopers knocking on their door to tell them that their loved one was killed by something so preventable as distracted driving.”

The Scope of Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has reported alarming statistics that underscore the necessity of this legislation. In 2023, distracted driving was identified as the leading cause of car crashes in the state, with over 11,262 incidents. The data also showed a concerning 2.25% increase in traffic deaths compared to 2022. These figures highlight the critical need for stringent measures to combat distracted driving.

What Senate Bill 37 Entails

Senate Bill 37 targets the widespread issue of drivers using hand-held devices while driving. Key points of the law include:

  • Prohibition on Hand-Held Devices: Drivers are not allowed to use hand-held phones or other devices while driving.
  • Hands-Free Technology: Drivers can still use their devices if they are utilizing hands-free technology.
  • Enforcement: Law enforcement officers are empowered to issue tickets to violators of this law.

The Impact of the Law

The enactment of Paul Miller’s Law is expected to significantly reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving in Pennsylvania. By discouraging the use of hand-held devices, the law aims to make roads safer for everyone.

Seeking Justice for Victims

For those affected by accidents caused by distracted driving, legal recourse is available. The team at Metzger Wickersham is dedicated to fighting for the rights of victims. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle crash due to distracted driving, contacting Metzger Wickersham can provide the necessary support and representation to seek justice.

Conclusion

Paul Miller’s Law represents a crucial advancement in the fight against distracted driving in Pennsylvania. By banning the use of hand-held devices while driving, the state is taking a proactive stance to enhance road safety and protect its residents. This law is not just a tribute to Paul Miller Jr., but a significant step towards preventing avoidable tragedies on the road.

For more information on Paul Miller’s Law and its implications, click here.

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