Session: 2023-2024

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

SB 37 (PN 1458) would create a new offense to prohibit motorists from using “interactive mobile devices” while driving.

The elements of this offense would be nearly impossible to prove, and as such, it strains credulity to believe that violations of this offense are intended to result in convictions. The only discernible function of SB 37 is a thinly veiled attempt to expand law enforcement’s power to conduct and justify pretextual traffic stops. Giving police newfound justification to pull people over based on a claim of a driver “pressing more than a single button” on their phone, holding a device, or even reaching for one, would undermine local efforts to find less expensive, more effective, and less lethal ways to enforce low-level traffic violations.

And although SB 37 was amended in the House to add badly needed requirements to collect more traffic stop data, the data would not be publicly accessible under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. The addition of this required reporting is a grim twist, since the effect of the underlying bill will certainly be an increase in police stops—particularly those that target Black and Brown drivers in Pennsylvania.

Check the bill's status here.


Senator Rosemary Brown



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