Thompson Law Group, P.C.

Distracted driving remains a problem in Pennsylvania

The issue of distracted driving has become so prevalent that when there is an accident in Pennsylvania, those involved cannot help but think that it was likely due to drivers not paying attention to the road. Since this problem is growing so rapidly, people often wonder why law enforcement and legislators do not do something about it. In 2012, Pennsylvania passed a law making it a violation to text and drive. According to police, the law is not strong enough to discourage people from texting and driving. Surveys have shown that around four in five Americans confess to using their devices while behind the wheel. Although Pennsylvania has outlawed texting, people can still make calls, use directional apps and legally use the internet. The law itself has gaps preventing law enforcement from cracking down to a notable degree.

Police are not legally allowed to take the driver's cellphone and see what the driver was doing if they do not have a warrant. After a serious accident, they can get this warrant, but if the idea is preventing the accident before it happens, the law is basically useless. In Pennsylvania, there were 227 fatal accidents due to a distracted driver between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, there was a significant rise in the number of citations in the state from 3,336 to 5,054.

Statistically, 35 percent of drivers said they texted while driving. This is a rise from 31 percent in 2009. 61 percent of drivers age 18 to 25 admit to texting while driving. 9 percent said they used social media in 2009. In 2016, that rose to 22 percent who read social media and 19 percent who posted. 29 percent stated they used the web. In 2009, that was 13 percent. The number of people who have devices that are capable of advanced use has increased in that timeframe, giving people greater access and temptation to use their devices when they are behind the wheel.

People must be aware of this issue as it is an important factor to consider when there is a crash and people are confronted with medical bills, lost time on the job, severe injuries and even wrongful death. Understanding the state's position on distracted driving is a key facet when determining if distracted driving was a factor in the accident. A legal professional experienced in pursuing compensation in cases of a driver's negligent actions can investigate the situation and may be able to help with moving forward in a legal filing.

Source:, "Texting and driving 'rampant' in Pa., but few get tickets. Here's why," Justine McDaniel, May 7, 2018

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