Pennsylvania Bans Cell Phone Use While Driving

A woman driving with a cell phone mounted to her dashboard.

On June 5, 2024, Governor Josh Shapiro signed a new bill into law. It is Senate Bill 37, known as Paul Miller’s Law. Paul Miller’s Law bans the use of hand-held devices while driving and makes it a ticketable offense. Pennsylvania is now the 29th state in the United States to ban distracted driving.

Prior to the signing of this bill, Pennsylvania had only banned texting while driving. Now, any use of a hand-held device is banned. Pennsylvania drivers can still use their phones to alert emergency responders, make phone calls, listen to music, and use a GPS if they are doing so with hands-free technology, like Bluetooth.

This law is named in honor of Paul Miller, Jr., a young man who was killed by a distracted driver in 2010. His mother, Eileen Miller, has been advocating for stricter laws around distracted driving since his passing.

The bill defines “driving” as: “Operating a motor vehicle on a highway, including while the motor vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device or other momentary delay. The term does not include operating a motor vehicle if the driver moved the vehicle to the side of or off of a highway and halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.”

In addition to banning the use of hand-held devices, this bill also requires all new drivers seeking a license to view educational material on the dangers of distracted driving as part of their driver training. At least one question about distracted driving will be added to the permit test, as well.

The penalty for violating this law will lead to a summary offense and a fine of $50.

If you would like to read more about this new bill, check out the following articles: