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Recognizing the danger involved in texting and driving

Pennsylvania motorists live in a busy world, and cellphones make it easier to keep up with the pace. However, texting while driving can result in serious injuries or death to motorists or pedestrians, making it important for those driving to understand the implications of their actions. Statistics reflect the increase in distracted driving incidents, and many such wrecks prove to be fatal or cause serious injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 400,000 people suffered injuries in 2010 because of distracted driving incidents. More than 3,000 people perished that year in such car crashes. The issue of cellphone use in vehicles is considered especially serious among teen drivers with two of every five teens indicating that they have been occupants of vehicles when lives have been endangered because of texting. Text messaging is viewed as one of the most significant distractions as the risk of an accident is more than 20 times higher than when drivers are not distracted.

Understanding the statistics is one thing, but mitigating the problem of texting and driving is complex. The FCC Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse was created to manage and share details related to efforts directed at this problem. Although many states have hands-free laws or other limits on cellphone use in place, a national ban has not yet been passed. Pennsylvania has banned texting while driving for all drivers, including novices. Nationally, parents of teens are encouraged to communicate clearly about the dangers of texting and driving while setting an appropriate example.

Someone who has suffered injuries in an accident involving texting and driving or other distractions may find that a personal injury claim is appropriate for addressing both financial and non-financial damages suffered. An attorney assisting in such a case may rely upon the state law as well as accident investigation results to demonstrate a defendant's role in a client's suffering.

Source: GHSA, "Distracted Driving Laws," November 2014

Source: FCC, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving", November 21, 2014

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Gregory R. Gifford
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