Gov. Shapiro signs law banning use of phones while driving in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG — Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a bill that prohibits the use of hand-held devices while driving into law on Wednesday.

The new law, also known as Paul Miller’s Law, makes Pennsylvania the 29th state to ban distracted driving. It’s named after a man killed in a 2010 crash involving a semi in Monroe County because of a person who reached for their phone while driving. Paul’s mom became a national advocate of laws curbing distracted driving after her son’s death.

“My son did everything right – and somebody else was the one who was the cause of my son’s demise. I whispered in the ear of my son at the morgue – who I couldn’t even identify, I didn’t even know that it was him, he was that bad – but I whispered in his ear that when I found out what had caused that crash, I would fight for change. We later found out that it was distracted driving. I held that honor to him – and today is Paul Miller’s law. I’ve gotten it done, Paul, I did it,” Eileen Miller said.

According to Shapiro’s office, the law allows police to ticket drivers using their phones while driving. Drivers can use phones to alert emergency responders and to make phone calls, use a GPS, and listen to music, only 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 Josh Shapiro. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation – passed and signed into law in honor of Paul Miller’s legacy – empowers our state and local police to stop distracted driving and make our roads and communities safer. This law also increases transparency and ensures accountability at traffic stops while providing crucial public safety data to keep our roads safe. This is an example of what we can accomplish when we work together — Senators and Representatives from both parties came together to pass commonsense legislation that will save lives across Pennsylvania.”

The law is also supposed to prevent bias in policing by requiring police to collect data on drivers pulled over during traffic stops, including race, ethnicity, and gender. The data will be made publicly available in an annual report.

Shapiro’s office says distracted driving was the leading cause of crashes in the state in 2023.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article