Request a Free Consultation

Distracted Driving Statistics In Philadelphia

Distracted driving remains a critical issue on Philadelphia’s roads, contributing to numerous accidents and citations each year. 

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the music, entertainment, or navigation system. It significantly increases the risk of accidents as it impairs the driver’s ability to focus on the road, react to changes, and control the vehicle.

There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road.
  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving.

Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions simultaneously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, which, at 55 mph, is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Distracted Driving in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, texting while driving, as well as using or wearing headphones are not only hazardous but illegal, leading to fines and penalties. For instance, texting while driving incurs a $50 fine plus court costs and fees under Title 75, Section 3316 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers are not allowed to use a handheld device at all while driving. 

Citation Data (2018-2022)

From 2018 to 2022, Pennsylvania recorded a total of 15,482 distracted driving citations, according to data pulled from PA Courts. The annual breakdown is as follows:

  • 2018: 4,793 citations
  • 2019: 4,292 citations
  • 2020: 2,293 citations
  • 2021: 2,163 citations
  • 2022: 1,941 citations

These figures indicate a declining trend in citations over the five-year period, which may suggest increased awareness and compliance with distracted driving laws or changes in enforcement practices. However, Philadelphia remains among the top 10 counties where most distracted driving citations occur (4%).

Distracted Driving Trends in Philadelphia

The types of people cited most in Philadelphia based on Pennsylvania statistics are in their 20s (32%), followed by those in their 30s (29%), 40s (16%), 50s (11%), and 60s (5%). Teenagers accounted for 6% of citations, while drivers in their 70s represented less than 1%.


71% of those cited were male, 28% were female, and 1% were unspecified. This disparity suggests that male drivers are more frequently involved in distracted driving incidents.

Issuing Authority

59% of citations were issued by the Pennsylvania State Police, with local police departments accounting for the remaining 41%.

Time Patterns

The greatest number of citations are given between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., indicating a higher incidence of distracted driving during mid-morning hours. Additionally, May, July, and August see the highest citation rates, each accounting for 10% of the annual total. This seasonal trend may correlate with increased travel during the summer months.

Distracted Driving’s Impact on Road Safety

Distracted driving significantly impacts road safety in Philadelphia in the following ways:

  • Increased Accident Rates: Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents in Philadelphia. The city’s busy streets and dense traffic conditions exacerbate the risks associated with driver inattention.
  • Fatalities and Injuries: Distracted driving contributes to numerous fatalities and injuries each year. The combination of high traffic volumes and distracted behaviors creates a perilous environment for all road users.
  • Economic Costs: The economic impact of distracted driving is substantial, with costs associated with medical expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.

Who is Liable After a Distracted Driving Accident in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, liability for a distracted driving accident typically falls on the distracted driver who caused the crash. If it is proven that a driver was engaged in distracting activities, such as texting, using a handheld device, or any other behavior that diverted their attention from the road, they can be held responsible for the damages and injuries resulting from the accident. 

However, under Pennsylvania’s no-fault insurance system, each driver’s own insurance company may cover their medical expenses and lost wages up to policy limits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Drivers are allowed to choose between full tort and limited tort insurance options. With limited tort, your ability to sue the at-fault driver is restricted unless your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. On the other hand, full tort coverage allows you to retain the right to sue without this limitation.

How Can I Prove the Other Driver Was Distracted?

Proving that another driver was distracted at the time of an accident requires gathering evidence that demonstrates their inattentiveness. Here are several effective methods and sources to help build your case:

Eyewitness Testimonies

Eyewitnesses who saw the accident can provide valuable information about the other driver’s behavior leading up to the crash. They might have seen the driver using a phone, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities.

  • Source: Ask witnesses at the scene for their contact information and if they can describe what they observed. Their statements can be recorded and used as evidence in your case. 

Police Reports

When police officers respond to an accident, they typically create a detailed report that may include their observations about distracted driving and whether the other driver received a citation.

  • Source: Request a copy of the police report from the local police department or through your attorney.

Phone Records

Phone records can show whether the driver was texting, calling, or using data at the time of the accident. This can be crucial evidence of distraction.

  • Source: Your attorney can subpoena the phone records from the driver’s mobile carrier during the discovery phase of a lawsuit if your case proceeds to litigation. 

Surveillance Footage

Traffic cameras, security cameras from nearby businesses, or dashcams from other vehicles can capture the driver’s actions just before the accident.

  • Source: Check for cameras in the vicinity of the accident and request the footage. This might involve contacting local businesses or city traffic management authorities. 

Vehicle Data

Modern vehicles often have event data recorders (EDRs) that log information about the car’s speed, braking, and other actions taken before the crash. This data can indicate whether the driver reacted appropriately or was distracted.


  • Source: An expert can retrieve and analyze the EDR data, which your attorney can use to support your claim.

Accident Reconstruction Experts

These experts analyze physical evidence from the crash scene, vehicle damage, and other factors to recreate the accident scenario. They can identify signs that suggest the driver was distracted.

  • Source: You or your attorney can hire a qualified accident reconstruction expert to provide a professional analysis and testimony.

Social Media Activity

Social media posts can sometimes indicate that the driver was distracted. For instance, if they posted a photo or status update around the time of the accident, it can serve as evidence.

  • Source: Look up the other driver’s social media accounts for posts made close to the time of the crash.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a collision caused by a distracted driver, hiring a trusted Philadelphia car accident lawyer is critical. They can help you with every aspect of your claim and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.