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Distracted Driving Accidents

Oct 15, 2019

While distracted driving can mean a lot of things, most people see it to mean texting while driving or talking on a cellphone. Distracted driving, however, includes actions like talking to other passengers, trying to keep an eye on children, restraining pets, picking up things that fall to the floor of the vehicle, eating, grooming and other actions. Any action that takes a driver’s eyes off the road can be fatal.

While many states have banned the use of cellphones and other e-devices while driving, the laws are tough to enforce. Pennsylvania does not have a ban on cellphones. Drivers are strongly encouraged to pull over to the side of the road to make calls or send texts. However, most drivers think they can multi-task while driving.

What many do not realize is that even though Pennsylvania does not ban the use of smartphones, it does have a texting law. The law that passed in 2012 is rarely observed. The law states that texting is considered to be a primary offense, and the use of e-devices or interactive wireless communication devices (IWCD) is prohibited while a vehicle is moving. There is a $50 fine for convictions plus court costs and other fees. For non-commercial vehicles, the violation carries no points as a penalty and is not listed on a driver’s record.

Anything that distracts a driver from focusing on driving safely is a distraction. Three forms of distraction exist that can affect drivers: visual distractions, manual distraction and cognitive distraction. If a driver is using a cellphone while driving, all three of those distractions are in play at the same time, creating an increased risk for an accident to occur.

While most drivers believe that they would not get into an accident statistics revealed by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, show otherwise. Distracted driving citations have shot up by 51 percent since 2017. That figure stands at 5,054 instances of a driver being ticketed for texting while driving.

Distracted driving commonly results in serious and even fatal car accidents. A fatal car crash caused by a distracted driver is admissible information in a lawsuit and may result in the court awarding punitive damages against the negligent driver. In Pennsylvania, car accident victims or plaintiffs can recover compensation from the at-fault driver and their personal insurance company.

Your Erie personal injury lawyer from Melaragno, Placidi & Parini has decades of legal experience in representing victims of distracted driving and can help you navigate the legal process and obtain the reasonable and equitable compensation you deserve.

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