Distracted Driving Law in Pennsylvania

Distracted Driving

Under Pennsylvania’s anti-texting law, effective March 8, 2012, drivers are prohibited from using a mobile device to send, read or write text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. Currently the penalty is a $50 fine and a summary offense on your criminal record.

Under Title 75 § 3316 of the Pennsylvania Code:

No driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway or traffic way in this Commonwealth while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion.

According to PennDOT’s anti-texting information sheet: “the texting ban does NOT include the use of a GPS device, a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus or school bus. The law does not authorize the seizure of an IWCD.”

What is Distracted Driving?

Anytime a driver engages in an activity that takes their focus off driving (such as texting, eating or talking) they are distracted driving. Their negligence can lead to serious injuries through a head-on crash or a rear end collision. Distracted driving can be doing any of the following while operating a motor vehicle:

  • Texting
  • Using a mobile device
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Talking
  • Watching videos
  • Putting on makeup / combing hair / grooming
  • Reading / Looking at maps
  • Playing with the radio or audio system
  • Using a GPS navigation system
  • Attending to children / pets

According to AAA, more than 80% of drivers “cite distraction as a serious problem and a behavior that makes them feel less safe on the road.” At the same time, 87% of drivers admit to risky behaviors behind the wheel, including distracted driving. Federal estimates suggest distracted driving contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes, which is approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

Consequences of Distracted Driving Accidents

When an accident occurs due to a driver not paying attention and driving in a negligently and recklessly manner, they should be held responsible for their actions. Most insurance companies under Pennsylvania’s no-fault system will cover minor injuries and hospital bills. But other expenses for more serious injuries (lost wages, rehabilitation and wrongful death) will most likely not be covered by the insurance company.

This is where our Pittsburgh car accident lawyers can help. We offer free case evaluations and can speak to you by phone or email, in person at our office or even visit you at home or in the hospital.

If you were involved in an accident caused by a driver who was texting, they may face criminal charges and could be held accountable for civil damages. If you win a civil case against the driver, you could receive payment for lost wages and medical expenses as well as the cost of pain and suffering.

You could also recover compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit, if a loved one was killed by a distracted texting driver. Getting a subpoena for the driver’s cell phone records may be all that it takes to prove gross negligence in a texting while driving accident.

Our Pittsburgh attorneys are here to help answer your questions about getting the maximum compensation owed to you, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Rehabilitation costs and home health care;
  • Lost wages;
  • Retraining for another profession if you are unable to drive or do the type of work you previously were paid to do;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of quality of life;
  • Wrongful death

When someone suffers a serious injury, his or her entire family is affected by the catastrophe. Long-term care and chronic pain, as well as depression and a loss of quality of life are enough to deal with: you should not have to worry about expenses as well.

Follow us on social media

Keep up with our latest news, see how we're giving back to the community, and stay connected!

Schedule your FREE Case