I know that there’s a lot being written on this subject. I write as much as I can on the texting issue because it’s important to me. Here’s recent information. In the Lehigh County case of Commonwealth v. Steiner,(Lehigh Co. May 4, 2011), Judge James T. Anthony ruled that an Allentown City ordinance prohibiting the use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle was invalid because the Pennsylvania Legislature intended that motor vehicle regulations be uniform throughout the state and this ordinance would subject motorists to unreasonable inconsistencies contrary to the purpose of the Vehicle Code. Defendant’s motion to dismiss granted.
In this criminal matter, the defendant was charged with violating the ordinance for using a mobile phone while operating his vehicle. He was found guilty and appealed. Following the summary. He then of course through counsel, filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the ordinance was preempted by the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.
After reviewing the law of preemption, Judge Anthony ruled that the Pennsylvania Legislature intended that motor vehicle regulation to be uniform throughout the state. For the ordinance at issue to be valid, there must be specific authorization in the Vehicle Code permitting the City of Allentown to enact such an ordinance.
It sounds like the lawyer in this case for the defendant did a good job in arguing his position. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Legislature is going to have to past uniform regulation prohibiting texting and driving. Otherwise there will be no real teeth to these ordinances throughout the state.