The Pennsylvania Legislature recently passed a measure that will make texting while driving a primary motor vehicle offense — meaning that police officers will be able to stop a driver that is caught texting while operating a vehicle. The ban will go into effect 120 days after the state's governor, Tom Corbett, signs the legislation.
Drivers around the state who are caught texting while driving will face a $50 fine.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
Distracted driving accidents in Pennsylvania are all too common - with texting being a distraction that causes the largest amount of damage on the road. The National Safety Council reports that each year dozens of people are killed and over 1,000 more are injured each year because of car crashes that involve texting.
One example of this problem happened recently in Butler, when 17-year-old Alexis Summers died in an accident related to texting. As Summers used her phone, she lost control of her vehicle, which went over an embankment and crashed into a tree. Police say that the teenager died at the scene of the accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes like this occur because texting includes the three common types of distracted driving - visual, where drivers take their eyes off of the road; cognitive, which occurs when drivers aren't concentrating on driving; and manual, which means drivers take their hands off of their steering wheel.
As a result of these distractions caused by texting, 995 people are killed around the country each year in cell phone related accidents.
Other Distracted Driving Facts
Although texting is one of the most dangerous types of distractions, drivers can be distracted while changing their radio stations, talking to passengers in the car, eating or using a GPS device. No matter what causes the distraction, the NHTSA reports that the results can be devastating:
- In 2009, distractions caused 5,474 motorists to die in car accidents, while another 448,000 were injured
- In 2009, 20 percent of car accident injuries were related to distracted driving
- In 2008, 16 percent of driver fatalities were caused by driver distraction
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, a Pennsylvania car accident attorney can help you recover your losses.