Texting laws in Pennsylvania: Is there room for improvement?

In Pennsylvania, drivers who are found texting while behind the wheel can be pulled over and cited by law enforcement. The state is one of 44 states in the nation that currently bans texting and driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Despite numerous studies showing the dangers of hand-held cellphone use while driving and cognitive distraction, only 14 states prohibit drivers from using these cellular devices. Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are pushing to enact stricter cellphone laws for drivers in order to decrease the number of people killed each year in distracted driving car accidents.

Are the current laws working?

Pennsylvania law enforcement officers began enforcing the ban on texting and driving in March 2012, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. During the first year following the ban, officers issued 1,302 texting and driving tickets. The number of citations decreased to 1,206 during the second year of the ban. Are less people texting while driving in order to avoid tickets and act in compliance with the law or are officers having trouble spotting drivers who are texting and driving, and are therefore unable to write citations?

A representative from the GHSA explains how states that have a ban on hand-held cellphone use and texting often have better results when it comes to issuing tickets and reducing the number of distracted drivers on the road. With only a ban on texting in place, it is difficult for officers to discern whether or not a driver is actually texting, which is illegal, or simply dialing a phone number, which is legal, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Although Allegheny County issued the most texting and driving tickets in the state, many believe that stricter cellphone laws could lead to a more successful outcome.

Distracted driving is dangerous

While drivers may not be worried about being caught and ticketed for texting and driving, they should consider the potential dangers of causing an auto accident resulting in catastrophic injuries. Distracted driving car accidents injured 421,000 people and killed 3,328 others in 2012, as reported by distraction.gov. When drivers take their hands off of the steering wheel, eyes off of the road and concentration off of the task of driving, the results can be disastrous.

Finding legal representation

The decision made by another motorist on the road could change your life forever. If you suffer from serious injuries or have lost a loved one as a result of a distracted driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages from work and emotional trauma. A personal injury attorney can walk you through the legal process and ensure that you get what you are entitled to.