Distracted driving, defined as an activity that diverts a driver’s attention and concentration away from driving, is considered a leading factor in many motor vehicle accidents. These activities – texting, talking on a cell phone, reading, eating, changing the radio, personal grooming – affect a driver’s performance and prevent a driver from focusing on the task of driving. This endangers not only the driver, but any passengers in the car as well as innocent bystanders. Text messaging is probably the most hazardous activity because it involves a mental component along with the use of a driver’s eyes and hands. While Pennsylvania does NOT have a state law that bans talking on a hand-held phone, state-wide legislation that specifically outlaws texting while driving went into effect on March 8, 2012.
Under the new “No Texting” law, drivers are prohibited from using an interactive wireless communication device such as a wireless phone or portable computer to read, send, or write a text message while their vehicle is in motion. The Pennsylvania law makes texting a primary offense allowing a law enforcement officer to pull over a driver and ticket a driver for texting while driving even without any other traffic violation. Those who are found to be texting while driving will be fined $50.00.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an additional 448,000 were injured in automobile accidents involving distracted driving. Out of those fatalities, 995 involved the use of a cell phone. Of those injured, 24,000 involved reports of a cell phone in use. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, being involved in an automobile accident is 23 times more likely if texting while driving as opposed to driving while not distracted.
Governor Tom Corbett approved the “No Texting” legislation in November 2011. In support of the new law, the Governor relied on reports of motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, distracted driving was the contributing factor in 13,806 crashes and 65 fatalities in Pennsylvania in the year 2010.
While the Governors Highway Safety Association (GSHA) reports that only nine states, including New Jersey and Delaware, have banned talking on a cell phone while driving, Pennsylvania is now the 35th state to pass a law banning the use of a handheld texting device while operating a vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Pennsylvania motor vehicle accident at the hands of a distracted driver, contact the personal injury lawyers at Messa & Associates. Our Philadelphia automobile accident attorneys have represented clients involved in all types of transportation accidents. With offices in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we are a team of passionate, dedicated lawyers who are ready to fight for justice. Our attorneys will successfully litigate your serious injury claim helping you get the financial compensation and care to which you are entitled to under the law. Call our motor vehicle accident lawyers today at 877-637-7252 for a free and confidential consultation or contact us online.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More