Pennsylvania’s Efforts to Prevent Distracted Driving

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving is the leading cause of Car Accidents that result in fatalities and injuries in Pennsylvania followed by speeding.

Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off of the road for approximately 4.6 seconds. Therefore, if a motorist is traveling at a speed of 55 mph, and sends one text, the time it took for him to send that message is equivalent to traveling an entire length of a football field while blindfolded.

While many of us require multitasking –especially for our jobs, it can ultimately result in deadly consequences while we’re driving.

Have you ever noticed a driver traveling well below the speed limit and drifting out of his or her lane? Chances are if you are on the road with any sort of frequency, this type of behavior is not foreign to you.

While most people associate these behaviors with drivers who are impaired by Alcohol or Drugs, drivers are increasingly exhibiting this risky conduct due to distractions behind the wheel.

Distracted driving comes in many forms, including distractions caused by:

  • Cellphones
  • Taking to other occupants in the vehicle
  • Eating
  • Changing the radio station
  • Picking up an item that fell on the floor
  • Using a GPS device

Cellphones are one of the most common and hazardous types of distractions for motorists. Cellphones can distract drivers in many ways, as they are often used for:

  • Talking
  • Texting
  • Surfing the internet
  • Navigating

In an effort to combat the harmful consequences of drivers distracted by cellphones, states across the country – including Pennsylvania – have taken steps to prevent distracted driving accidents.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission decided to offer free Wi-Fi services at every service plaza on the Turnpike. The Wi-Fi service will be available for users who are inside the service plazas, and is expected to encourage drivers to adhere to the “Text-Free Turnpike” campaign that was implemented in 2010.

The chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike stated, “Offering Wi-Fi fits nicely into our ongoing efforts to encourage motorists to reduce distractions and focus on driving behind the wheel.”

He added that the hope is motorists will now pull into a service plaza to use their cellphones, rather than participating in risky behaviors, such as texting while driving.

Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, distracted drivers caused 13,790 motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania in 2010. In addition, distracted driving accidents led to 66 Fatalities in Pennsylvania that year.

Texting while behind the wheel is one of the more dangerous types of cellphone driver distraction, as it distracts the driver visually, manually and cognitively. When a driver reads or sends a text message, he or she typically must look away from the road for about 4.6 seconds.

If the driver is traveling at 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. A study conducted by Virginia Tech revealed that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than their non-distracted counterparts.

Due to the particularly hazardous nature of this behavior, Pennsylvania Law prohibits all motorists from texting while driving. Motorists who violate the law are subject to a fine of $50.

Despite the law and efforts made by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, some Pennsylvania drivers will continue to drive while distracted.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Consulting with an experienced, Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer will ensure your rights are protected.