Distracted driver accidents in Pennsylvania

As a society, we have moved into an unparalleled age of connectivity. The majority of people have, for better or worse, become dependent on constant connectivity to get from place to place, relying on their iPhone or Android device and even "old-fashioned" GPS units that can pinpoint our location on a map with tremendous accuracy. In addition, many cars now come with touch screens, in-car WiFi, and more technology than even Marty McFly in Back to the Future would have thought possible. While this technology, without question, makes many aspects of daily life easier, it has also created a major issue of distracted driver's causing car crashes and risks that have become amplified in today's fast-paced society. 

According to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents involving distracted driving were responsible for 424,000 injuries during 2013, increasing the 421,000 that occurred in the previous year. Unfortunately, these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Technology continues to grow, and one downside is that it coincides with a rise in distracted drivers on the road, check out these car crash statistics in Pennsylvania by PennDOT.

The best help with an injury caused by a distracted driver is talking to a lawyer. Regardless of whether you pursue a personal injury case or not, you need to be aware of the law and your rights. At the very least, you should talk to a car accident lawyer – most, including our personal injury law firm offer free consultations regarding car accident cases, meaning you have nothing to lose.

Why Are Distracted Driving Car Accidents At An All-Time High?

A recent study by the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security concludes that distracted driving is at an all-time high among young drivers. While this study focused on the younger generation that has grown up with smartphones, email, Facebook, Instagram, and the rest, I would venture to guess that adult drivers are just as guilty of distracted driving. 

As a result, Pennsylvania, and the majority of States, have:

  • Enacted cell phone laws (hands-free laws), including giving tickets for texting, emailing, etc.
  • Made April the national distracted driving awareness month
  • NHTSA has announced the "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign to end this dangerous activity. 

So, with all of these programs in place, the question is: why are distracted driving accidents at an all-time high? There is no easy answer to the question, but in my opinion, it is just too easy to drive distracted. As a society, we all have attention deficit disorder – we cannot sit still, much less pay attention to driving our 1000 pound automobile. 

The reality is, the world has become more and more connected. Most everyone has a "smart" phone and cannot stand to drive even for a minute. So the next time you are stopped at a red light, take a quick look at the other driver – I can almost guarantee that there will be people checking their phones. Think about that: young and older adults cannot stand to sit at a red light without checking their social media, email, or otherwise.

Smartphones contribute significantly to distracted driving accidents

There is no question that smartphones and other personal electronic devices significantly contribute to distracted driving accidents. To combat this problem, many states have implemented laws and regulations that limit how drivers can use smartphones while operating a vehicle with varying degrees of success. 

Additionally, device and vehicle manufacturers have developed hands-free technologies. These are intended to allow a driver to text, email, play music, ask for directions, and accomplish other tasks related to their smartphones without having to take their eyes off of the road or their hands off of the wheel.

Unfortunately, the results of a recent study conducted by AAA indicate that these technologies may actually increase driver distraction, refuting the belief that hands-free usage is safer than manually using your device.

Smartwatches may pose a new threat to motorists

With the recent release of Apple's long-anticipated smartwatch, motorists may be facing greater risk each time they take to the road. The phone alerts wearers to text messages, calendar events, calls, and social media notifications with a variety of alerts which may cause a driver to check their device, potentially resulting in significant distraction.

According to a recent study, it takes a person almost 2/3 of a second longer to manipulate and check a smartwatch than it does a smartphone, the Huffington Post reports. As of now, it remains to be seen how smartwatches will fit into the current regulatory scheme. Most state laws ban the use of devices described as "hand-held devices," which may or may not be interpreted by courts to apply to smartwatches or other wearable devices.

Can You Spot the Distracted Driver?

While the most common instance of distracted driving is from cell phone use, we cannot forget some of our other favorites, including:

  • The Eater – drivers that cannot wait to shove some grub in their mouth
  • The Makeup Artist – usually, but not always, the woman (or man) driver who needs to put on their "face" in AM traffic
  • The Radio Station DJ – drivers that need to perpetually change the radio station every 30 seconds, usually done while staring at the dashboard or another device
  • The Stretch Arm-Strong – drivers that are reaching into the deepest, darkest crevice holding the wheel with a finger or knee, usually reaching for a dropped cell phone

These are just some examples of people on our roads daily. I bet you will see at least one of these distracted drivers every day if you look around. As always, if you or a loved one are involved in a distracted driving accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at KaplunMarx. 

Our distracted driving lawyers have plenty of experience handling these types of car accident cases. Even if the other driver denies being distracted during the accident, we may have ways to find the truth. While stories may change, the evidence doesn't. Technology allows for triangulation and details about what the person was actually doing on their phone at the time of the accident.

The profiles of these people can often be humorous, but the truth is there are often terrible consequences that come from distracted driving accidents. There are countless stories about the horrible consequences of distracted driving accidents – Distraction.gov puts a human face behind the concept of what can happen when you don't pay attention when driving. Watching these videos should be mandatory for anyone who receives a citation for distracted driving. In addition, the video of parents who have lost children because of a distracted driver is sobering and heart-wrenching.

Suggestions to fix the distracted driving problem

  • Stiffer fines – in Pennsylvania, the citation for distracted driving is only a $50.00 fine.
  • Harsher penalties – losing your privilege to drive might act as a strong deterrent.
  • Education – when renewing your license or getting it for the first time, make it mandatory to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. Making them watch the above videos would be part of this education.
  • Technology – away technology can block social media while driving?

There is no simple answer to solving the distracted driving epidemic. Unfortunately, it seems like it is getting worse, not better, as we become more technologically advanced – but we all need to work toward a solution.

What to do if You're Injured by a Distracted Driver?

The issue of distracted driving causes all kinds of injuries, auto, pedestrian, bus, etc. – and as new technology continues to grow, so does the distracted driving accident rate. Therefore, anyone who has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver may be entitled to substantial compensation under the Pennsylvania and New Jersey law.

When you need help with an injury caused by a distracted driver, the bottom line is to speak to an accident lawyer as soon as possible. To discuss your distracted driving injury case with one of our top Philly injury lawyers, call KaplunMarx today for a 100% FREE car accident case evaluation.


KaplanMarx is a Philadelphia based law firm focusing on personal injury and accident cases. We pride ourselves in our community roots and help injury victims and their families every day to recover.



Get Your Free Consultation


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.