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How does Pennsylvania rate in banning distracted driving?

Virtually every state, including Pennsylvania, has enacted laws to combat the distracted driving epidemic in the United States. But some states have been more aggressive than others in restricting drivers’ use of smartphones and other devices behind the wheel.

For example, Pennsylvania bans texting while driving, but lets motorists talk on the phone. Neighboring states likes New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland prohibit any handheld phone activities while driving.

Using a cellphone while driving is the first image that pops into many people’s minds when they hear the term “distracted driving.” But almost anything that forces a driver to split his or her focus from the road can cause a serious collision, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration.

Distracted driving is an especially big problem among younger drivers. A 2012 report from that organization says that distracted teen drivers were responsible for 10 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. that year.

One distraction that an inexperienced driver may not be able to handle is noisy passengers. Pennsylvania does not allow drivers to carry passengers for the first six months they have their drivers’ license. Even then, they are limited to one passenger until they turn 18.

Laws and regulations have a role in preventing car accidents. But in the moment, it may make little difference to someone who is texting and driving that he or she is breaking the law. A second later, he or she might crash into another vehicle, causing serious injury to the people inside.

Another way the law deals with this form of negligence is to hold the responsible party financially liable for the harm they cause.

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