Texting while driving has become a prevalent distracted driving issue across the United States so much so that Pennsylvania and many other states have passed laws that prohibit any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based communication while their car or truck is in motion.

What objects are considered Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD)? 

  • According to Pennsylvania Law and Penn DOT, a “IWCD” is a cell phone, personal digital assistant, smartphone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet.

What is a text based communication under the law?

  • Defines a text-based communication as a text message, instant message, email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD.

What are the penalties for a violation of the aforementioned law?

The penalty is a summary offense with a $50 fine, plus court costs and other fees.

The violation carries no points as a penalty and will not be recorded on the driver record for noncommercial drivers. It will be recorded on commercial drivers’ records as a non-sanction violation.

Other facts about texting while driving in Pennsylvania:

According to Pennsylvania law, the texting ban does NOT include the use of a GPS device, a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus or school bus. The law does not authorize the seizure of an IWCD.


According to Penn DOT articles and statistics, In 2018, there were 14,202 distracted driver crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 65 fatalities.

Numerous studies indicate that texting drivers typically have their eyes diverted from the road longer than any other distraction. Banning drivers from using a cell phone for texting while operating their car or truck should make Pennsylvania roads a safer place to travel. 

According to PennDOT articles citing the Governors Highway Safety Association:

  • Handheld Cellphone Use: 21 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws — an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cellphone without any other traffic offense taking place.
  • All Cellphone Use: No state bans all cellphone use for all drivers, but 39 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers.
  • Text Messaging: Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but three have primary enforcement. Of the two states without an all-driver texting ban, one prohibits text messaging by novice drivers.



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