Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Scranton
Distracted driving is a problem on Pennsylvania’s roadways. Distracted legislation passed down in Pennsylvania has banned texting while driving, which is classified as a “primary offense” under state law. For years, the modest punishment has done little to deter drivers from driving and texting (a scant $50 fine and no record). But recent legislation aims to change that.
Distracted Driving and Daniel’s Law
In early 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed a comprehensive driving reform into law, named for a Pennsylvania man who was struck from behind on his motorcycle and killed by a distracted driver. Daniel’s Law aims to treat distracted driving as a serious offense by:
- Creating a punishment similar to drunk driving.
- Increasing punishments for those convicted of vehicular homicide.
- Adding points to your record for texting and driving.
Distracted Driving as a Public Health Threat
Daniel’s Law is also intended as an education effort with a powerful message: distracted driving kills. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 3,500 deaths nationwide as a result of distracted driving. In 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 14,800 crashes involving distracted driving, leading to 66 deaths.
PennDOT defines distracted driving as anything that takes your attention away from the road. Though texting and driving is the only thing that’s strictly prohibited, they also strongly discourage actions such as:
- Emailing, checking your social networks, or using a mobile GPS system
- Personal grooming activities such as applying makeup, shaving, or brushing teeth
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Looking at people, sights, or accidents happening off the roadway
Negligence and Distracted Driving
Pennsylvania is unusual in that it’s one of only 12 “choice no-fault” states. In other words, you may elect to purchase traditional insurance coverage, or no-fault coverage. Purchasing traditional coverage means you’re free to pursue civil lawsuits for negligence, while no-fault coverage places restrictions on when you can sue. If you’re within your rights to file a civil suit following a car accident, one of the first things your attorney will look for is evidence of distracted driving.
When a driver sues another for damages resulting from a car accident, they have to prove that the driver they’re suing caused an accident through their own carelessness, legally referred to as negligence. Recently, more plaintiffs have been successful in arguing that the defendant was responsible for the accident because they were using their cell phone while driving. These are examples of how an attorney may make a case for distracted driving:
- The defendant was driving with only one hand on the steering wheel.
- A conversation kept the defendant from keeping their focused attention on the task of driving.
- The defendant took his or her eyes off the road to reach for a cell phone, or check a message.
- Even when using a hands-free device, an emotionally charged conversation can lead a driver to divert focus from the road.
If You’ve Been in a Car Accident: Next Steps
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, you may be wondering about your legal options. A civil lawsuit will help you pay for medical expenses, compensate for lost wages, and pay for any ongoing therapy required for a full recovery. It may also provide compensation for intangible damages such as pain and suffering.
If you need financial relief from your bills, call the injury lawyers at Rosenbaum & Associates for a free initial consultation. One of our associates will review your case and advise you of your next steps. To schedule your evaluation, contact us.