Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a bill into law prohibiting the act of texting while driving, officially making PA the 35th state in the U.S. to ban the act.
Now that S.B. 314 is signed into law, it is now a primary offense to text while driving. This means that police officers are now able to pull over drivers seen violating this law solely for that reason.
The law takes effect in March 2012. Violators are subject to a $50 fine but will not get points for infractions.
The fact that violations come with a fine but no points is good news for those worried that the new law could affect auto insurance rates in PA.
Exactly how texting laws affect car insurance rates varies widely by driver and also how violations are handled legally in each state.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are only eight states left that do not ban texting-while-driving in any way: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota.
As mentioned earlier, Pennsylvania just became the 35th state to ban texting-while-driving completely, while seven other U.S. states (Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia) have a some form of a partial ban on texting-while-driving in place but do not completely prohibit the act for all drivers.