In an era characterized by prolific use of cellular phones with everexpanding capabilities, liberty and privacy ideals often compete with public safety interests. Rising levels of injuries and fatalities from collisions attributed to cell phone use while driving have motivated Pennsylvania lawmakers to ban text-based communication while an individual is operating a vehicle. Roadway safety is a legitimate and important governmental objective; however, the innumerable functions capable of being performed by a modem cell phone and the enormity of information able to be stored on such a device necessitates a policy consistent with Pennsylvania's historic dedication to the privacy rights of its residents.
This Comment provides an overview of the problem of cell phone use while driving and discusses the primary elements of Pennsylvania's prohibition of text messaging while driving. In addition, the Comment examines Pennsylvania search and seizure law under article I, section 8 of the state constitution as it is applicable to scenarios that are likely to arise in the enforcement of Pennsylvania's ban on text-based communication during vehicle operation. The analysis reveals concerns regarding the enforcement of Pennsylvania's distracted driving legislation and highlights issues concerning the privacy implications inherent in cell phone searches. Lastly, this Comment seeks to provide solutions consistent with Pennsylvania case law to balance personal privacy and public safety.
Tara M. Franklin,
Done with Distracted Driving: Implications of Pennsylvania's Ban on Text-Based Communication While Driving Under the State Constitution,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol117/iss1/6