In keeping with some of my previous blogs concerning lesser-known violations of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, here are several more violations most people are not aware of.
Pennsylvania’s “Unattended Motor Vehicle” law limits where a vehicle can be left running and unattended.
Under § 3701, no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit the vehicle to stand unattended without placing the gear shift lever in a position which under the circumstances impedes the movement of the vehicle, stopping the engine, locking the ignition in vehicles so equipped, removing the key from the ignition and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway and effectively setting the brake. Any person violating this section is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $5.
During the winter months many people start their car to warm it up or leave their car running to keep it warm. The problem is it is against the law to leave the car running unattended. The penalty is nominal and won’t likely stop many people from warming their cars unattended.
Pennsylvania’s “Blind Pedestrians” law mandates that the driver of a vehicle yield the right of way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog.
§ 3549 states the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog and shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian and, if necessary, shall stop the vehicle in order to prevent injury or danger to the pedestrian. A violation of the statute is a summary offense and is punishable by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $150.
Common sense and courtesy is required. Slow your car down or bring it to a stop if you see pedestrian with a cane or with a guide dog.
The “Prohibiting Use of Hearing Impairment Devices” law prohibits any driver from wearing headphones while behind the wheel.
§ 3314 states generally, no driver shall operate a vehicle while wearing or using one or more headphones or earphones. The section does not prohibit the use of hearing aids or other devices for improving the hearing of the driver, nor does it prohibit the use of a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear, nor does it prohibit the use of communication equipment by the driver of an emergency vehicle or by motorcycle operators complying with section 3525 (relating to protective equipment for motorcycle riders).
Wearing headphones while driving limits the driver’s ability to hear sirens belonging to emergency responders, warning horns from other drivers, or pedestrians trying to communicate to the driver.
Distracted drivers pose a deadly risk to everyone on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 3,331 people lost their lives and another 387,000 were injured in distraction-affected crashes. Pennsylvania has on the books several statutes prohibiting certain behavior that would distract a driver.
§ 3316 (Prohibiting text-based communications) prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle on a highway or traffic way in this Commonwealth while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based communication when the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in an interactive wireless communications device for the purpose of activating or deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call. A person who violates subsection (a) commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50.
§ 1622. (Handheld mobile telephone) only applies to commercial drivers and prohibits a driver from using a handheld mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle or motor carrier vehicle. An employer may not permit or require a driver of the employer to use a handheld mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle or a motor carrier vehicle. The statute provides an emergency use exception, which allows a handheld mobile telephone to be used by a driver of a commercial motor vehicle or motor carrier vehicle if necessary to communicate with a law enforcement official or other emergency service.