One of the most dangerous things you can do on the road is texting while driving. So, why doesn’t our state do more to discourage it? Recent reports suggest Pennsylvania is lagging behind other states when it comes to distracted driving safety. Is there anything we can do to get back on track?
Why Is Texting and Driving in Pennsylvania a Problem?
In 47 states and the District of Columbia it is illegal to use a cellphone to send texts while driving. Pennsylvania is one of those states. However, the penalties for texting and driving in our state are not as steep as they are in other states. In Alaska, a distracted driving penalty can result in a $10,000 fine and jail-time while the fine in New York can be $235. Here in Pennsylvania, the fine is only $50 plus court costs.
To further complicate the issue, some are claiming that Pennsylvania law enforcement officers are failing to enforce the law. According to a report from WNEP 16, out of the 9 million registered drivers in Pennsylvania, an average of only 8 distracted driving citations are written daily. These stats are especially concerning considering how big of a problem distracted driving is in our state.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported that 15,614 crashes involved distracted driving last year, and 58 of those crashes proved fatal. Only 9,143 crashes from 2017 were related to drunk driving. That’s a 6,471-crash difference.
How Can We Fight Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania?
Many safety advocates believe the $50 fine just isn’t enough to deter driving while texting. That’s why advocates are suggesting that distracted driving citations take points off Pennsylvania driver’s licenses. This could increase insurance rates for distracted drivers. If a driver receives too many citations, then it would result in a driver’s license suspension. However, advocates also acknowledge that toughening up the laws will do nothing if the police don’t enforce them.
Filing a car accident lawsuit is another option available to the victims of distracted driving crashes. This can help victims pay their medical bills and may help provide a deterrent for future distracted drivers.
If you have any questions about an injury caused by a negligent driver, call (215) 261-7975. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyer can help you understand what to do after a car accident and the best options for your case.