Smartphone Addiction is Claiming More Lives on Our Roads
April 29th, 2019 by Wapner Newman
Smartphones are fun and make our lives easier, but our addiction to them has put us at a significantly higher risk of dying in a car crash. With new technology constantly emerging, there are more and more temptations to use phones for texting, browsing the internet, navigation, audio, and music — all activities that dangerously distract drivers from concentrating on the road.
Drivers were “observed manipulating their phones” 57 percent more often in 2018 than they were in 2014, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and reported in USA Today. This distraction can prove fatal, especially when you consider that in the less than 4.5 seconds it takes to send a text, a vehicle going 55 mph covers more than the length of a football field and can easily cause a crash. IIHS estimates that about 800 people were killed in crashes in 2017 due to drivers’ using their phones for something other than a call.
According to AAA, the average cost of an injury crash in the United States in 2009 was more than $125,000, while the average cost of a fatal accident was closer to $6 million. Add to this the devastating effect on people’s lives from serious injuries that can maim, disfigure, and cause pain and suffering that may last a lifetime, and it is no wonder that victims of car crashes seek compensation.
Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania
Driving while distracted is illegal in 47 states, including Pennsylvania. Since March, 2012, Pennsylvania has a law that prohibits all drivers from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device to send, read or write text-based messages while their vehicle is in motion. This is a primary law, which means that a police officer has the right to pull drivers over and give them a ticket for texting while driving, without having to witness another moving violation.
In the last five years, distraction citations in Pennsylvania have shot up dramatically, according to data by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. There were 5,054 citations in 2017 for offenses related to texting, using a hand-held cell phone and wearing or using headphones while driving, up 172 percent from the 1,858 citations issued statewide in 2013.
Drivers Must be Responsible
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that takes the driver’s attention from the road and increases the risk of crashing. Distractions can be visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel), or cognitive (taking mind off what you’re doing). Using smartphone technology is particularly dangerous as it involves all three.
Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is required to drive responsibly and practice safe driving habits. When drivers devote their attention to anything other than the road, they must be held responsible for any injuries they cause.
Contact Us for Help and Guidance
Pennsylvania law involving distracted driving lawsuits is complicated; and to make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to, you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
The seasoned and compassionate Pennsylvania personal attorneys at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller offer a free consultation to examine the facts of any vehicle crash that caused damages. Our unique legal approach helps ensure that no stone is left unturned as we investigate and document every detail relating to your claim and do everything possible to get you the settlement you deserve.
Contact us online or call our offices today for your free consultation.