The behavior jeopardizes everyone on the road
It’s become an American tradition. Each April, public awareness campaigns about the dangers of distracted driving kick into high gear. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania motorists don’t seem to be getting the message.
Annual data recently provided by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) reflects a significant increase in the number of citations issued for distracted driving across the Commonwealth last year. For example, authorities in Montgomery County cited 298 motorists for the offense in 2015 as compared to 223 in 2014. In Allegheny County, the number of citations for distracted driving jumped from 176 in 2014 to 235 last year. And in York County, the number of citations jumped from 130 to 223. The number of tickets issued for the offense declined or remained the same in only a few counties.
The current AOPC report does not include data for Philadelphia County. However a previous version indicates that law enforcement there issued 195 citations for behavior classified as distracted driving in 2014.
Distracted driving is generally defined as any activity that interferes with your concentration while you are behind the wheel. This includes, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, or “rubbernecking.” One of the most dangerous distractions for drivers is the use of a cell phone, especially to send text messages.
Because texting while driving can have lethal consequences, federal laws banning it are now in place. These include rules that prohibit anyone driving a commercial vehicle from texting while doing so. It is also illegal for federal government workers to text while driving in certain circumstances.
Many states also have laws that specifically prohibit the activity. In Pennsylvania drivers who are caught texting while their vehicles are in motion face a $50 fine for each offense. They must also pay court costs and any other applicable fees.
In comparison with some consequences of distracted driving that’s a small price to pay. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traffic crashes in which distracted driving is a factor result in more than eight fatalities and 1,100 injuries per day. In 2013, more than 3,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents where distracted driving was a factor. More than 400,000 people were injured.
In 2014 alone, distracted driving was a factor in more than 13,000 Pennsylvania traffic accidents. Of those, 49 were fatal.
State statistics for that year also show that young drivers (age 16 to 21) were involved in 39 percent of single vehicle crashes. Drivers in the same age group were involved in more than half of multi-vehicle crashes. Factors that put young drivers at greater risk for involvement in these crashes include the penchant for risk taking, inexperience and being prone to distractions.
Nationally, young drivers are also more likely to be involved in distracted-driving accidents than their older counterparts. Furthermore, a study cited by the CDC found that two out of five students surveyed admitted to texting and driving.
McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC: Experienced Philadelphia Distracted Driving Lawyers
The Philadelphia accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC handle all types of motor vehicle accident cases. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash where distracted driving was a factor, don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation. Our phone numbers are 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221. You can also schedule your initial meeting online.