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Few Drivers Cited For Texting While Driving Statewide

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There's no doubt texting is a quick and easy way to communicate, but it's also potentially deadly when done behind the wheel.

"It's really dangerous," Laryn McConnell, of Penn Hills, said. "I mean, you look at your phone for two seconds and that's all it takes to get into an accident."

The obvious dangers prompted state lawmakers to create a law banning drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle.

It went into effect March 8th, but clearly not everyone is obeying. KDKA-TV found a driver texting on the Parkway East.

"Just trying to kill some time while the traffic is going," he said. "Had to take a picture of the sign to prove to work why I'm late."

Although KDKA-TV caught him red-handed, the police didn't. In fact, it seems police are having a tough time finding anyone breaking this law.

Here's a breakdown of just how many citations have been handed out in some local departments.

In the city of Pittsburgh, officers gave out four citations.

Ross Township officers cited only two drivers. Mt. Lebanon – only one.

In Penn Hills the number is zero and the same goes for Moon Township.

Statewide, troopers have handed out 98 citations between March 8th and early September.

"It's taken people time to get used to it," Trooper Robin Mungo said. "It's taken our officers time to just remember to write it."

Officers say it will take a good year to really get an idea of whether the law is effective, but by then, there may be a whole new regulation in place.

State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville, whose district covers parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, is now pushing to prohibit drivers from using hand held cell phones altogether.

"This will not work unless the actual public, the driving public takes it upon themselves to say, 'This is wrong, I shouldn't be doing it and I'm not going to do while I drive,'" he said.

Markosek says if nothing else, his proposal will hopefully get people talking and thinking about the dangers of distracted driving.

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