Cell phones now function as small computers that people carry with them everywhere they go. They complete more tasks than ever through apps and built-in cameras. Almost everyone has upgraded to a smartphone that provides instant notifications of emails and Facebook activity along with the standard texts and calls. Part of this is because smartphone speeds have increased eight-fold since 2010.
Many professions require employees to be on the clock to respond to customer needs at any time of day or night. For young people, the need to stay connected means that they never put down their devices. Some even take selfies while behind the wheel and post them on Instagram under the hashtag #drivingselfies.
Distracted driving causes more accidents each year. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blamed distracted driving for the deaths of 3,328 across the country. The agency notes that approximately 421,000 people suffered injuries in accidents that involved a distracted driver. Injuries reported increased 9% between 2011 and 2012.
Text messaging is one of the most serious distractions because it takes visual, manual, and cognitive attention away from the task of driving. The average amount of time it takes to write a text is five seconds. For context, a car traveling 55 m.p.h. can cover the length of a baseball field in that time. Looking down for what seems an instant can easily result in a crash.
Pennsylvania cellphone laws
There is no general ban on hand-held cellphone use in Pennsylvania. However, it is unlawful to read or write “a text-based communication” while behind the wheel when the vehicle is moving. This applies to all Interactive Wireless Communication Devices, such as a wireless phone, smartphone, or mobile computer.
The law went into effect in 2012 and a violation carries a $50 fine. No points are recorded on the driver‘s record for non-commercial drivers. For those who drive for a living, a violation goes on their record as a non-sanction violation.
New law restricts cellphone use for commercial truck drivers
Pennsylvania recently added a new law that prohibits commercial truck drivers from using hand-held phones while driving. There had been a federal rule that went into place in 2012, but now it is also a part of the Pennsylvania traffic code.
When to speak with an attorney
After a very serious injury, it is often difficult to know what caused the accident. A concussion may mean that you do not remember the seconds leading up the crash. It may take interviews with witnesses along with a thorough investigation and possible review of phone records to uncover the cause. Another driver will probably never admit to driving while distracted or sending a text message.
As you focus on your recovery, speak with an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney such as Jeffrey H. Penneys who can investigate causation, deal with an insurance company, and ensure you receive a fair settlement. There may be monetary damages available to cover past and future medical bills, lost wages while you missed work along with pain and suffering. Call Mr. Penneys today or fill out the contact form to get started on the road to recovery.