Midstate counties rank high in texting while driving tickets

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 1, 2014 4:00 AM
mobile texting

(Philadelphia) -- Five midstate counties are among the top 15 in the state when it comes to the number of people ticketed for texting while driving.

York County ranks seventh with 61 citations issued between March 2013 and this past February, while Lancaster County places ninth with 38 tickets issued.

Triple-A Mid-Atlantic compiled the statistics to mark the anniversary of Pennsylvania's law, which went into effect on March 8th, 2012.

Spokeswoman Jenny Robinson says raising public awareness can be a long process.

"It takes a while to really get it in people's brains that this law is out there, that it can be enforced and that it's something that has to change people's behavior," she says.

Robinson says hands-free devices aren't exactly free from distraction, noting federal research shows sending or reading a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for four-point-six seconds. That's long enough to drive the length of a football field if traveling 55 miles per hour.

"Even though your hands aren't on device, your brain is still distracted," she says. "So, we would recommend that you shouldn't be sending texts or doing other things...interacting with your phone...even if you're not using your hands. So, we have concerns about the kinds of systems that are in some of the newer models of cars as well as some of the other technologies."

More than 1,200 people were cited statewide for texting behind the wheel.

Berks, Dauphin and Cumberland counties rank 11th, 12th and 15th in the number of tickets issued.

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