Man driving his car while using his phone.

What Is Philadelphia Doing to Address the Distracted Driving Problem?

Philadelphia has a big problem: distracted driving. In fact, 75% of people on Philadelphia-area roads are using their mobile devices while driving, according to a 2018 report issued by the Traveler’s Institute. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that sending or reading a text leads a person to take their eyes off the road for 5 seconds and that, at 55 mph, this means you are essentially driving the full length of a football field with your eyes closed. If three-quarters of drivers in Philadelphia are using their mobile devices while driving, this means that there are far too many drivers operating their vehicles as if their eyes were closed.

Distracted driving is dangerous driving. The NHTSA reports that, in 2017, distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives. Although mobile device-use such as talking, texting, and e-mailing, has become the biggest source of distracted driving, it is not the only one. Anything that takes your full attention away from the road is a distraction. This includes drinking, eating, and interacting with other passengers. Though using a mobile device while driving seems to be the biggest problem for people between the ages of 20 to 37, novice or teenage drivers are found to be distracted by other passengers in the car more often. NHTSA statistics show that a teen driver that has other teen passengers are more likely to crash than if they were driving alone or with an adult passenger.

How Philadelphia Is Fighting the Distracted Driving Problem

Unfortunately, Philadelphia, as well as the entire state of Pennsylvania, has a great deal of room for improvement in its efforts to curb the prominent problem of distracted driving. Like other states, Pennsylvania has enacted a distracted driving law, but many critics say the law does not go nearly as far as it should. 

Pennsylvania’s distracted driving law only bans texting while driving. More specifically, the law prohibits a driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) in order to send, read, or write a text while his or her vehicle is in motion. An IWCD could be anything from a smartphone to a personal digital assistant or any similar type of device that can be used for things such as texting, emailing or internet browsing.

The law prohibits texting while driving as a primary offense. This means that law enforcement officers are empowered to pull someone over specifically for this offense. They do not need the driver to be in violation of another law first. Unfortunately, texting while driving bans are notoriously difficult to enforce and drivers are not often ticketed for this offense. Even if a driver is ticketed for the offense, the violation carries no points as part of the penalty, and it is not recorded on the driver record for non-commercial drivers. 

Contact Our Car Accident Attorney

Distracted driving leads to devastation on the roads. Those who have been the victims of distracted driving often sustain devastating injuries that will impact the rest of their lives. If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy will fight for you. We will fight for your legal right to be compensated for the harm you have suffered at the hands of a negligent driver. Contact us today.