WILKES-BARRE — Drivers seem to be getting the message: Don’t text and drive.
In an analysis conducted by AAA Mid-Atlantic, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area has dropped from sixth to eighth place in the number of tickets issued for texting while driving. That drop came during the second year of the state’s law against texting while driving.
Wilkes-Barre enacted a similar ordinance in 2012. It went into effect in February 2013 and prohibited talking or texting on a cellphone while driving. Violators of the ordinance can be given a $75 fine if cited.
From March 2012 to February 2013, 52 citations were given in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area — that dropped to 37 from March 2013 to February 2014.
AAA Mid-Atlantic reports that most other counties either stayed on par with the citations from the first year or saw increases. A total of 1,206 citations were issued for texting while driving across the state in the law’s second year of enforcement.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area encompasses Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties. Luzerne County was one of the few counties in the state to see a large from from 30 citations in the first year to 17 in the second year.
“Are people in Luzerne County putting the phones down more when they drive? We hope so,” said Jenny Robinson, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Drivers are getting the message — it’s dangerous to text behind the wheel. Enforcement is important as well, but the goal is to change behavior and get people to stop driving distracted — not just wait till they do it and see them get a ticket.”