Every time you get behind the wheel, you probably take steps to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible. Unfortunately, there are a lot of potential risks to anyone on the modern road. In addition to inclement weather, traffic issues and even impaired drivers, there is the statistically significant risk of encountering a distracted driver.
Since almost everyone has a mobile phone and people expect instant communication, there is a lot of temptation for people to use them while in a vehicle. Unfortunately, the results of that practice can be devastating for anyone on the road.
People engaged in distraction may have their eyes focused down instead of on the road. They may also not have both hands on the steering wheel. That can result in longer reaction times and a failure to respond properly. In other words, distraction can mean failing to prevent an accident or perhaps directly causing it by driving poorly.
Pennsylvania law prohibits texting while driving
Keeping people safe on the road is often a difficult task. Far too many people choose to engage in behaviors that they know to be risky, such as drinking before getting behind the wheel. The same is true of texting at the wheel. It is a horrifyingly common practice.
While most people understand that the behavior is dangerous, they may feel like they are good enough drivers to compensate for the risk it creates. They may also feel like their likelihood of getting caught for texting at the wheel is minimal. Of course, Pennsylvania does have a state law in place that creates penalties for anyone caught texting and driving.
There is a $50 fine associated with texting behind the wheel. Generally speaking, a citation for texting at the wheel will not result in additional points on the driver's license. In other words, getting caught texting is going to result in a minor inconvenience, nothing more. Until someone causes a serious collision, they likely won't rethink their habit of reaching for their phone while in control of a heavy vehicle.
Focusing on a phone instead of the road is likely a form of negligence
When someone causes a crash that hurts or kills other people, their victims have the right to seek compensation in court. Typically, victims have to show that the driver's negligence or wrongful acts contributed to the crash.
Texting at the wheel could be considered both negligence and a wrongful act. It is negligence because it prevents someone from paying adequate attention to the task at hand. It is a wrongful act as well, as it violates state laws and is clearly dangerous to other people on the road.
Anyone who gets hurt in a crash should look into whether the other party was texting at the time of the collision. Mobile phone records, as well as traffic cameras, can help show that the other party was actually engaged on a phone instead of paying attention to the road in the minutes leading up to the collision.