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A look at banning handheld cellphone use in Pennsylvania

Thousands of tragic stories fill the media in Pennsylvania reporting lives lost due to distracted drivers; however, people continue to engage in distractive habits while driving. It's not unusual to see another driver talking on their cellphone, texting, programming their navigation device or wrestling with their children in the back seat while navigating down one of Northampton County's roadways. According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. government's official website for distracted driving, 3,328 people were killed in 2012 due to distracted driving car accidents. Pennsylvania has taken action to reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities in the state by launching the "Just Drive PA" campaign and banning texting for all drivers. The National Safety Council recommends taking the law a step further to ban all handheld cellphone devices as well.

Current PA distracted driving laws

The state of Pennsylvania is currently one of forty-one states that ban texting while driving for all motorists. The law does not include those using a GPS system or any other electronic device that is integrated into the vehicle. Those who are convicted of texting while driving may be issued a $50 fine, and are responsible for handling any court costs or fees associated with the case.

Banning handheld cellphone use

Twelve states have passed laws prohibiting handheld cellphone use for all drivers as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This gives an officer the right to cite a driver for operating their cellphone while driving, even if they haven't broken any other traffic laws. According to a University of California Berkeley Study released in March, 2012, California's decision to ban handheld cellphones while driving was responsible for the nearly twenty-two percent decrease in overall motor vehicle accident fatalities. Some officials wonder if restricting cellphone use while driving will reduce driving fatalities in Pennsylvania as well.

Good driving habits

Numerous websites focus on educating drivers on the importance of practicing good driving habits. Distracted driving may be defined as engaging in any behavior that removes your focus from the road, including mentally and physically. Some of these behaviors include:

  • Talking on a cellphone.
  • Texting.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Programming the navigation system.
  • Grooming or looking into a mirror.
  • Reading.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Adjusting the CD player, radio or entertainment system.
  • Dealing with children in the back seat.

The National Safety Council encourages everyone to practice safe driving habits by avoiding these activities while driving.

Call an attorney

Those who have been victimized by drunk drivers may be entitled to receive compensation for their physical injuries, property damage, as well as any pain and suffering they have had to endure. Call a reputable Northampton personal injury attorney and receive guidance on your specific case.