On March 8, Pennsylvania's new texting while driving ban goes into effect. While news organizations are busy reporting on the $50 fine attached to texting while driving, what they don't report are the extra taxes and fees that go into your ticket, which bring the fine up to $136. So what's the math?
In recent years, more and more fees have been added to tickets. Pennsylvania is not alone in taking this approach - states from California to Florida have been increasing fees attached to motor vehicle citations. These fees go to pay for programs such as Pennsylvania's Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (MCARE), which compensates people injured through medical negligence. Court costs play a role in the ticket as well, even if you choose not to contest the violation and pay up front.
These fees are one way the state finds revenue for programs, and one that is important to keep in mind during this budget cycle.
Fines and fees aside, the new Anti-Texting law is one way the state is taking action to prevent accidents and save lives. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, in 2010 there were nearly 14,000 crashes in Pennsylvania where distracted driving played a role, with 68 people dying in those crashes. So please, when you buckle up, put the cell phone down.