Philadelphia PA Car Accident Lawyer discusses new Texting while Driving law in Pennsylvania
In recent years, an accident caused by texting while driving is a common occurrence a Philadelphia PA Car Accident Lawyer will hear about. Teens and young adults are particularly guilty of the reckless behavior, and as a Philadelphia PA Car Accident Lawyer, I always warn parents: Our children are watching what we do.
In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. A 2011 study by the CDC compared texted or emailing while driving in the U.S. compared to seven European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The study found that 31% of drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed. In Europe, this percentage ranged from 15% in Spain to 31% in Portugal.
Texting, in particular, takes the driver’s attention away from driving more frequently and for longer periods of time than other distractions. Another study revealed that nearly half of all U.S. high school student’s aged 16 years or older text or email while driving.
Philadelphia PA Car Accident Lawyer John Fox has personally been involved in legal matters involving texting while driving, including the devastating consequences of texting while driving in Philadelphia, when a young mother drove her car into the rear end of a truck on the highway. She died at the scene, leaving behind a husband and young daughter.
Experts consider driving while distracted to be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, and Pennsylvania recently enacted a “no texting while driving” ban. Many states have passed stricter “hands free” cell phone laws. As a state statute, the “no texting while driving” law will override local regulations that ban cellphone use while driving. Philadelphia banned hand-held cellphone use three years ago, and in the past three years, Philadelphia police ticked 31,000 drivers for using their cell phone. That local ordinance will no longer be enforced.
Philadelphia PA Car Accident Lawyer explains new texting while driving law in Pennsylvania:
A law signed in March 2012 made texting while driving a primary offense, meaning police do not need another reason to pull you over. The law carries a $50 fine and nearly $90 in court costs.
Teens who are learning to drive are made aware of the new law and statistics indicate it is making a difference in young drivers. Of the 113 texting citations that had been issued in Allegheny County as of late last month, only four were to drivers younger than 20.
If common sense doesn’t tell you the risk involved in texting while driving, keep in mind that texting while driving increases your chance of being involved in a car accident by 23%. Typing a typical text message can be compared to closing your eyes for nearly five seconds.
According to the National Safety Council, texting while driving causes 1.6 million vehicle accidents per year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that texting while driving is to blame for 11 teen deaths each day. In an AT&T survey, 97% of teens said texting while driving is dangerous, but 43% still acknowledged that they do it. One powerful influence on young drivers is their parents. Our children are watching what we do. Unfortunately, when teens were asked if they had seen their parent’s texting while driving, 59% said yes.