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A03504
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
37
Session of
2023
INTRODUCED BY BROWN, LANGERHOLC, FLYNN, STEFANO, SCHWANK,
SANTARSIERO AND CULVER, APRIL 10, 2023
AS AMENDED ON THIRD CONSIDERATION, JUNE 21, 2023
AN ACT
Amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes, in general provisions, further providing for
definitions; in licensing of drivers, further providing for
learners' permits, AND for examination of applicant for
driver's license and for schedule of convictions and points;
in rules of the road in general, further providing for
prohibiting text-based communications and providing for
prohibiting use of interactive mobile device; in
miscellaneous provisions relating to serious traffic
offenses, further providing for the offense of homicide by
vehicle and for the offense of aggravated assault by vehicle;
and imposing penalties.
This act may be referred to as Paul Miller's Law.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The definition of "interactive wireless
communications device" in section 102 of Title 75 of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:
§ 102. Definitions.
Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent
provisions of this title which are applicable to specific
provisions of this title, the following words and phrases when
used in this title shall have, unless the context clearly
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indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:
* * *
"Interactive [wireless communications] mobile device." A
HANDHELD wireless telephone, personal digital assistant, smart
phone, portable or mobile computer or similar device which can
be used for voice communication, texting, [e-mailing] emailing,
browsing the Internet [or], instant messaging[.], playing games,
taking or transmitting images, recording or broadcasting videos,
creating or sharing social media or otherwise sending or
receiving electronic data. The term does not include any of the
following:
(1) a device being used exclusively as a global
positioning or navigation system;
(2) a [system or] device that is BEING USED IN A HANDS-
FREE MANNER OR WITH A HANDS-FREE ACCESSORY OR SYSTEM,
INCLUDING ONE THAT IS physically or electronically integrated
into the vehicle; [or]
(2.1) a device that is connected to the vehicle solely
for the purpose of charging the system or device;
(3) a [communications] device that is affixed to a mass
transit vehicle, bus or school bus[.];
(4) a mobile or handheld radio being used by a person
with an amateur radio station license issued by the Federal
Communications Commission;
(5) a device being used exclusively for emergency
notification purposes;
(6) a device being used exclusively by an emergency
service responder while operating an emergency vehicle and
engaged in the performance of duties; or
(7) a device being used exclusively by a commercial
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driver who within the scope of the individual's employment
uses a device if the use is permitted under regulations
promulgated under 49 U.S.C. § 31136 (relating to United
States Government regulations).
* * *
Section 2. Section 1505(e)(2) of Title 75 is amended to
read:
§ 1505. Learners' permits.
* * *
(e) Authorization to test for driver's license and junior
driver's license.--A person with a learner's permit is
authorized to take the examination for a regular or junior
driver's license for the class of vehicle for which a permit is
held. Before a person under the age of 18 years may take the
examination for a junior driver's license, including a Class M
license to operate a motorcycle, the minor must:
* * *
(2) Present to the department a certification form
signed by the father, mother, guardian, person in loco
parentis or spouse of a married minor stating that the minor
applicant has:
(i) completed 65 hours of practical driving
experience accompanied as required under subsection (b);
[and]
(ii) except for a Class M license to operate a
motorcycle, the 65 hours included no less than ten hours
of nighttime driving and five hours of inclement weather
driving[.]; and
(iii) printed, at the department's discretion, or
viewed educational materials provided on the department's
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publicly accessible Internet website on the dangers of
distracted driving, which may include, but are not
limited to, written, electronic or video materials.
* * *
Section 3. Section 1508 of Title 75 is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
§ 1508. Examination of applicant for driver's license.
* * *
(c.1) Distracted driving awareness.--The portion of the
examination on traffic laws shall contain at least one question
on distracted driving relating to the driver's ability to
understand the effects of distracted driving. The driver's
manual shall include a section relating to distracted driving,
along with related penalties .
* * *
Section 4. Sections 1535(a) and 3316 of Title 75 are amended
to read:
§ 1535. Schedule of convictions and points.
(a) General rule.--A point system for driver education and
control is hereby established which is related to other
provisions for use, suspension and revocation of the operating
privilege as specified under this title. Every driver licensed
in this Commonwealth who is convicted of any of the following
offenses shall be assessed points as of the date of violation in
accordance with the following schedule:
Section Number Offense Points
1512
Violation of restriction on
driver's license. 2
1571 Violation concerning license. 3
3102 Failure to obey policeman or 2
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authorized person.
3111.1 Obedience to traffic-control
devices warning of hazardous
conditions. 2
3112(a)(3)(i)
or (ii)
Failure to stop for a red
light. 3
3114(a)(1)
Failure to stop for a flashing
red light. 3
3302
Failure to yield half of
roadway to oncoming vehicle. 3
3303 Improper passing. 3
3304 Other improper passing. 3
3305 Other improper passing. 3
3306(a)(1) Other improper passing. 4
3306(a)(2) Other improper passing. 3
3306(a)(3) Other improper passing. 3
3307 Other improper passing. 3
3310 Following too closely. 3
3316(d)(3) Text-based communications 2
3316.1(d)(3) Use of interactive mobile
device 2
3321
Failure to yield to driver on
the right at intersection. 3
3322
Failure to yield to oncoming
driver when making left turn. 3
3323(b) Failure to stop for stop sign. 3
3323(c)
Failure to yield at yield
sign. 3
3324
Failure to yield when entering
or crossing roadway between
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intersections. 3
3327(a) or
(a.1)
Duty of driver in emergency
response area and in relation
to disabled vehicles. 2
3332 Improper turning around. 3
3341(a)
Failure to obey signal
indicating approach of train. 2
3341(b)
Failure to comply with
crossing gate or barrier. 4
(and 30 days' suspension)
3342(b) or (e)
Failure to stop at railroad
crossings. 4
3344
Failure to stop when entering
from alley, driveway or
building. 3
3345(a)
Failure to stop for school bus
with flashing red lights. 5
(and 60 days' suspension)
3361
Driving too fast for
conditions. 2
3362
Exceeding maximum speed.--Over
Limit:
6-10 2
11-15 3
16-25 4
26-30 5
31-over 5
(and departmental hearing
and sanctions provided
under section 1538(d))
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3365(b)
Exceeding special speed limit
in school zone. 3
(and 60 days' suspension
for a second or subsequent
offense)
3365(c)
Exceeding special speed limit
for trucks on downgrades. 3
3542(a)
Failure to yield to pedestrian
in crosswalk. 2
3547
Failure to yield to pedestrian
on sidewalk. 3
3549(a)
Failure to yield to blind
pedestrian. 3
3702 Improper backing. 3
3714(a) Careless driving. 3
3745
Leaving scene of accident
involving property damage
only. 4
* * *
SECTION 4. SECTION 3316 OF TITLE 75 IS AMENDED TO READ:
§ 3316. Prohibiting text-based communications.
(a) Prohibition.--[No driver shall operate a motor vehicle
on a highway or trafficway in this Commonwealth while using an
interactive [wireless communications] mobile device to send,
read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in
motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based
communication when the person reads, selects or enters a
telephone number or name in an interactive [wireless
communications] mobile device for the purpose of activating or
deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call.
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(b) [(Reserved).] Emergency use exception.--Texting while
driving shall be permissible by a driver of a motor vehicle if
ne cessary to communicate with a law enforcement official or
other emergency services to prevent injury to persons or
property.
(c) Seizure.--The provisions of this section shall not be
construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of an
interactive [wireless communications] mobile device, unless
otherwise provided by law.
(d) Penalty.--A person who violates subsection (a) commits a
summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay
a fine of $50.
(d.1) Prohibition on similar citations.--A person may not be
charged with a violation of section 3316. 1 (relating to
prohibiting use of interactive mobile device) concurrently with
a violation of subsection (a) for an offense committed at the
same time and place.
(e) Preemption of local ordinances.--In accordance with
section 6101 (relating to applicability and uniformity of
title), this section supersedes and preempts all ordinances of
any municipality with regard to the use of an interactive
[wireless communications] mobile device by the driver of a motor
vehicle.
(f) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "text-
based communication" means a text message, instant message,
electronic mail or other written communication composed or
received on an interactive [wireless communications] mobile
device.] Except as provided in subsection (c), a driver may not
engage in texting while driving a motor vehicle.
(b) Employer.--Except as provided under subsection (c), an
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employer may not permit or require a driver of the employer to
engage in texting while driving a motor vehicle.
(c) Emergency use exception.--Texting while driving shall be
permissible by a driver of a motor vehicle if necessary to
communicate with a law enforcement official or other emergency
services to prevent injury to persons or property.
(d) Penalties.-- Except as provided for in subsection (e), a
person who violates this section commits a summary offense. The
following shall apply:
(1) For a first conviction with no conviction of and no
plea of no contest accepted to a charge of violating this
section within the previous 60-month period, as measured from
the dates any previous convictions were obtained or pleas of
no contest were accepted to the date the current conviction
is obtained or plea of no contest is accepted, a fine of not
more than $150 shall be imposed.
(2) For a second conviction within a 60-month period of
time, as measured from the dates any previous convictions
were obtained or pleas of no contest were accepted to the
date the current conviction is obtained or plea of no contest
is accepted, a fine of not more than $250.
(3) For a third or subsequent conviction within a 60-
month period of time, as measured from the dates any previous
convictions were obtained or pleas of no contest were
accepted to the date the current conviction is obtained or
plea of no contest is accepted, a fine of not more than $500 ,
two points and suspension of the offender's driver's license
for a period of 60 days shall be imposed .
(e) Warning period.--For the first 12 months after the
effective date of this subsection, a driver who violates
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subsection (a) may only be issued a written warning for a
violation.
(f) Law enforcement education.--The department, in
consultation with the Pennsylvania State Police, shall develop
and electronically distribute education materials for law
enforcement on how to effectively detect distracted drivers,
regardless of age, sex, race or ethnicity, who violate this
section.
(g) Prohibition on similar citations.--A person may not be
charged with a violation of section 3316.1 (relating to
prohibiting use of interactive mobile device) concurrently with
a violation of subsection (a) for an offense committed at the
same time and place.
(h) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Driving." 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.
"Electronic device." The term includes, but is not limited
to, a cellular telephone, personal digital assistant, pager,
computer or any other device used to input, write, send, receive
or read text or images.
"Texting." Manually entering alphanumeric text into or
reading text from an electronic device. The following shall
apply:
(1) The term includes, but is not limited to, short
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message service, emailing, instant messaging, a command or
request to access an Internet web page, pressing more than a
single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication
using a mobile telephone or engaging in any other form of
electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future
communication.
(2) The term does not include:
(i) Inputting, selecting or reading information on a
global positioning system or navigation system.
(ii) Pressing a single button to initiate or
terminate a voice communication using a mobile telephone.
(iii) Using a device capable of performing multiple
functions, including fleet management systems, dispatching
devices, citizens band radios and music players, for a purpose
that is not prohibited by this section.
Section 5. Title 75 is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 3316.1. Prohibiting use of interactive mobile device.
(a) Motor vehicle.--Except as provided under subsection (c)
(b) , a driver may not use an interactive mobile device while
driving a motor vehicle.
(b) Employer.--Except as provided under subsection (c), an
employer may not permit or require a driver of the employer to
use an interactive mobile device while driving a motor vehicle.
(c) (b) Emergency use exception.--Using an interactive
mobile device shall be permissible by a driver of a motor
vehicle if necessary to communicate with a law enforcement
official or other emergency services to prevent injury to
persons or property.
(d) (c) Penalties.-- Except as provided for in subsection
(g), a person who violates this section commits a summary
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offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine
of $50 . The following shall apply:
(1) For a first conviction with no conviction of and no
plea of no contest accepted to a charge of violating this
section within the previous 60-month period, as measured from
the dates any previous convictions were obtained or pleas of
no contest were accepted to the date the current conviction
is obtained or plea of no contest is accepted, a fine of not
more than $150 shall be imposed.
(2) For a second conviction within a 60-month period of
time, as measured from the dates any previous convictions
were obtained or pleas of no contest were accepted to the
date the current conviction is obtained or plea of no contest
is accepted, a fine of not more than $250.
(3) For a third or subsequent conviction within a 60-
month period of time, as measured from the dates any previous
convictions were obtained or pleas of no contest were
accepted to the date the current conviction is obtained or
plea of no contest is accepted, a fine of not more than $500 ,
two points and suspension of the offender's driver's license
for a period of 60 days shall be imposed .
(e) (d) Preemption of local ordinances.--In accordance with
section 6101 (relating to applicability and uniformity of
title), this section supersedes and preempts all ordinances of
any municipality with regard to the use of an interactive mobile
device by a driver of a motor vehicle.
(e) Seizure.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to
authorize the seizure or forfeiture of an interactiv e mobile
device, unless otherwise provided by law.
(f) Law enforcement education.--The department, in
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consultation with the Pennsylvania State Police, shall develop
and electronically distribute education materials for law
enforcement on how to effectively detect distracted drivers,
regardless of age, sex, race or ethnicity, who violate this
section.
(g) Warning period.--For the first 12 months after the
effective date of this subsection, a driver who violates
subsection (a) may only be issued a written warning for a
violation.
(h) Prohibition on similar citations.-- A person may not be
charged with a violation of section 3316 (relating to
prohibiting text-based communications) concurrently with a
violation of subsection (a) for an offense committed at the same
time and place.
(i) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Driving." 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.
"Use an interactive mobile device." As follows:
(1) Using at least one hand to hold, or supporting with
another part of the body, an interactive mobile device to
conduct a voice communication .
(2) Dialing or answering an interactive mobile device by
pressing more than a single button.
(3) Reaching for an interactive mobile device in a
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manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that the driver
is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a
seat belt that is installed in accordance with 49 CFR 393.93
(relating to seats, seat belt assemblies, and seat belt
assembly anchorages) and adjusted in accordance with the
vehicle manufacturer's instructions.
Section 6. Sections 3732(b)(1.1) and (3) and 3732.1(b)(2)
and (4) of Title 75 are amended to read:
§ 3732. Homicide by vehicle.
* * *
(b) Sentencing.--
* * *
(1.1) In addition to any other penalty provided by law,
a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) who is
also convicted of a violation of section 1501 (relating to
drivers required to be licensed), 1543 (relating to driving
while operating privilege is suspended or revoked), 3316
(relating to prohibiting text-based communications), 3316.1
(relating to prohibiting use of interactive mobile device),
3325 (relating to duty of driver on approach of emergency
vehicle) or 3327 (relating to duty of driver in emergency
response areas and in relation to disabled vehicles) may be
sentenced to an additional term not to exceed five years'
confinement.
* * *
(3) The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, pursuant
to 42 Pa.C.S. § 2154 (relating to adoption of guidelines for
sentencing), shall provide for a sentencing enhancement for
an offense under this section when the violation occurred in
an active work zone or the individual was also convicted of a
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violation of section 1501, 1543, 3316, 3316.1, 3325 or 3327.
§ 3732.1. Aggravated assault by vehicle.
* * *
(b) Sentencing.--
* * *
(2) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a
person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) who is also
convicted of a violation of section 1501 (relating to drivers
required to be licensed), 1543 (relating to driving while
operating privilege is suspended or revoked), 3316 (relating
to prohibiting text-based communications), 3316.1 (relating
to prohibiting use of interactive mobile device), 3325
(relating to duty of driver on approach of emergency vehicle)
or 3327 (relating to duty of driver in emergency response
areas and in relation to disabled vehicles) may be sentenced
to an additional term not to exceed two years' confinement.
* * *
(4) The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, under 42
Pa.C.S. § 2154 (relating to adoption of guidelines for
sentencing), shall provide for a sentencing enhancement for
an offense under this section when the violation occurred in
an active work zone or the individual was also convicted of a
violation of section 1501, 1543, 3316, 3316.1, 3325 or 3327.
Section 7. This act shall take effect in 12 months.
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