Pennsylvania Texting & Driving Laws
I have often complained in this blog, that Pennsylvania does not go far enough to protect the public when it comes to passing and enforcing effective laws regulating both the use of cell phones while driving and restrictions on teenage drivers. I am pleased to report, however, that since the anti-texting and Junior Driving Bills have become law, they have started to show positive results.
Since the passage of the No Texting Act in 2012, distracted driving fatalities have also dropped. However, as I have stated in prior blogs, it is extremely difficult to prove that someone is actually texting while driving when an accident occurs. If the person has not pushed the send button you cannot usually prove it. However, these numbers are still too small to accurately assess the benefits of the new texting law.
Over my thirty years of practice here in Chester County I have seen many car accidents which were caused by young and inexperienced drivers. I have had accident cases involving students from West Chester East, Downingtown West, Owen J. Roberts, Kennett Square and Oxford, PA. Some of these tragically resulted in fatalities leaving behind grieving family members and lifetimes of pain. I am also now investigating two texting related crashes.
As I have said before, Harrisburg should now pass laws banning the use of all hand held devices while driving. After all, there is not much difference between texting and actually holding a phone in your hand up to your ear. Other states such as Maryland prohibit both texting and the use of handheld cell phones and their accident rates have dropped. These are just as dangerous as putting on makeup while driving. Contact your legislators to tell them to support legislation banning all hand held devices while driving.
Additional Young Driver Safe Driving Legislation In Pennsylvania
The new Junior Driving Law sets limits on the number of teenagers allowed in the vehicle and increases the amount of training required prior to licensing. The law requires that for the first six months of licensing a teenage driver can transport only one non-family passenger younger than 18. After that, the number of passengers under age 18 can increase to 3 non-family members as long as the teenage driver has a clean driving record or is accompanied by an parent or guardian.
The Junior Driving Law also expands training requirements from 50 to 65 hours including ten hours of night time driving and five hours of inclement weather driving before licensure. The vehicle accident statistics for the last year show that Pennsylvania’s 16 and 17 year old driver fatalities have dropped from 66 to 44.