Distracted driving caused more more than 14,200 Pennsylvania car accidents in 2011, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates. Tragically, the lives of 58 people were lost in these devastating accidents. PennDOT is now taking steps to stop distracted driving in the state with its "Just Drive PA" initiative.
The campaign hopes to encourage Pennsylvania drivers to concentrate only on driving when they are on the road and to refrain from other tasks like texting or eating. The PennDOT secretary indicated that the new "Just Drive" slogan will reinforce the idea that a driver's sole responsibility and focus behind the wheel should be on driving safely.
Texting while driving of any kind is against the law in Pennsylvania, and the prohibition includes emailing, internet browsing and instant messaging on a mobile device. Drivers caught texting and driving are subject to a $50 fine.
Distracted driving is not only prevalent in Pennsylvania, but is a problem across the county. According to the official U.S. website for distracted driving, 3,092 people were killed and 416,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2010. Of teenagers in the U.S., 40 percent say they have been in a car with a driver who was using a cell phone in such a way that put passengers at risk.
Texting while driving puts a driver's crash risk at 23 times more likely than when the driver is not distracted. Even looking at a text message, as well as sending one, makes drivers look away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. While driving at 55 mph, this equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field without looking up once.
Distracted driving can cause serious injury and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to discuss the possibility of legal compensation.