Mercury editorial cartoon by Alan Macbain

Since Pennsylvania’s texting while driving ban went into effect just over a year ago, some 1,300 texting citations have been issued, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.  The new statute makes it a primary offense for a driver to send a text message while operating a motor vehicle.

The texting ban is certainly a step in the right direction, but many lawmakers and concerned citizens feel that it’s still not enough to prevent distracted driving accidents. Under the new law, it’s still okay to get out your cell phone and dial a number while driving.

Texting while driving ranks the most dangerous distracted driving activity, making you 23 times more likely to crash. However, use of handheld cell phones to receive or make calls and to engage in conversation is just as much a distraction.

Dialing a number while driving makes you 2.8 times more likely to crash, talking or listening on your phone makes you 1.3 times more at risk of an accident, and just reaching for your phone makes you 1.4 times more likely to wreck.

Any type of cell phone use behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster – and whether legal or illegal, you should always put your phone down while driving!