It's now illegal to use hand-held devices while driving in PA, here's why

Governor Josh Shapiro has signed a new law that bans the use of hand-held devices while driving. It’s called Paul Miller’s Law. 

The new law will allow law enforcement to issue a ticket when a driver uses a cell phone while driving. 

Drivers will still be able to use their phones to alert emergency responders and make phone calls, use a GPS, and listen to music, if they are using hands-free technology. 

"I have met too many people with injuries they’ll live with for the rest of their lives because they were hit by a distracted driver – and too many families that have an empty seat at the dinner table because of distracted driving," said Governor Shapiro. 

The law is named after Paul Miller Jr. who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident with a tractor-trailer in 2010 in Monroe County as the result of a distracted driver who reached for their phone while driving. 

In an effort to prevent bias in policing, Paul Miller’s Law will also require police to collect data on drivers pulled over during traffic stops, including race, ethnicity and gender which will then be made publicly available. 

According to PennDOT’s annual crash information report, in 2023, distracted driving was the leading cause of car crashes in Pennsylvania with traffic deaths rising by 2.25% compared to 2022.

This bipartisan legislation makes Pennsylvania the 29th state in the nation to ban distracted driving. 

"People are dying every day," said Tricia Griffin, a Bensalem resident who is all about safety behind the wheel for herself and others. "I think it's better for people to have a blue tooth so they can be hands free or stay off their phones."

Christopher Sund is already taking precautions against being a distracted driver.

"I have a phone holder and I have it in my cradle here, so if I'm calling somebody like my wife for instance then I can talk to her handsfree while I'm driving," said Sund, another Bensalem resident who also says those precautions help with communicating with customers when he is driving for Uber. 

However, his distracted driving concerns extend beyond the phone.

"Somebody could be eating McDonald's or something or putting on makeup or something," said Sund.

There is a 12-month grace period before warnings begin in 2025, and another 12 months until citations can be written in June 2026.