A Pennsylvania ban on texting and driving takes effect Thursday, adding to the number of states which effectively limit which devices drivers can use behind the wheel.

The Pennsylvania ban is not as tough as in some other states. Drivers convicted of violating the ban on texting while driving will receive a citation for $50, plus court fees and processing costs this might reach as high as $140. No points will assessed on the driver’s license and no need for traffic school, but police are empowered to pull over anyone seen texting and driving which is more than some states with no laws restricting distracted driving.

Not everyone is happy about the new ban on texting and driving in Pennsylvania. Critics on both sides the law does not go far enough to make a difference. Because it doesn’t address the use of handheld devices in general, some say it will not go far enough to fight distracted driving, which according to the National transportation Safety Board is the leading cause of vehicle crashes in the United States.

A recent study by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute found that drivers who text behind the wheel are a whopping 23 times more likely to be involved in a vehicle collision than drivers who are not. It makes sense that if you are paying attention to what you are doing, say, driving, you are going to do a better job at it.

For Pennsylvania drivers the new ban is just a helpful reminder that they should avoid all distractions behind the wheel, especially the use of a texting device which requires them to take their eyes off the road and even their hands off the wheel. If they need another reminder, police officers are being specially trained to determine when a driver is using a texting device and to pull over drivers they believe are distracted by anything.

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net