Texting and Driving: Distracted Driving Laws in Pennsylvania

Distracted driving is a major threat to the health, safety, and welfare of Americans from all walks of life. It not only puts the vehicle’s driver and their passengers at risk but also compromises the safety of other drivers, their passengers, pedestrians, and anyone else on the road. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed more than 3,500 people in 2021.

Texting and driving continues to be one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, as it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off the task of driving.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at PA distracted driving accidents: laws, texting and driving statistics, and the topic of distracted driving in general.


What is the Definition of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is broadly defined as engaging in any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the roadway. While distracted driving is most closely associated with using a mobile device, activities like tuning your radio or eating while driving can also be considered a distraction.

Common examples of distracted driving include:

  • texting
  • talking on the phone
  • eating
  • drinking
  • adjusting the radio
  • grooming
  • talking to passengers
  • reaching for objects

Texting and Driving Statistics

Recent data from the NHTSA found that texting and driving or general cell phone use played a role in:

  • 9% (29,999) of all distracted driving crashes resulting in injury.
  • 9% (50,098) of all distracted driving crashes reported to the police.
  • 13% of fatal distracted driving-related accidents.

How Many People Die from Texting and Driving?

Based on that same NHTSA report:

Is Texting and Driving Illegal in Pennsylvania?

Yes, texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania. The state’s “Distracted Driving Law” prohibits using interactive wireless communication devices (IWCDs) for texting while driving. IWCDs include cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices used to send or receive text messages, emails, or other forms of electronic communication.

Under the PA distracted driving law, using IWCDs for texting while driving carries a $50 fine for the first offense. It does not apply to GPS devices, integrated systems, or devices on mass transit vehicles.

Pennsylvania and Philadelphia’s distracted driving statutes are meant to protect drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else who faces a risk of injury because of distracted driving. Beyond the legal consequences of texting and driving, distracted driving can result in injury, including permanent disability, and even death to others on the road.

Anyone who has suffered because of the negligence of someone who was texting and driving, may be eligible for compensation.

Compensation After a Texting and Driving Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, that driver may face liability for damages suffered.

An experienced PA car accident lawyer will help fight so that you can be compensated for:

  • car repairs or car replacement
  • transportation while you are without a vehicle
  • medical expenses
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering

If a texting and driving accident resulted in the death of a family member, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Distracted Driving: A National Threat

With our cell phones glued to our hands and notifications constantly vying for our attention, it’s easy to forget the dangers of distracted driving.

In 2018 alone, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation noted a staggering 14,202 crashes, 65 of them fatal, all fueled by this pervasive threat. However, Pennsylvania isn’t alone in its efforts to address the threats posed by distracted driving.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, handheld cellphone use is prohibited while driving in 21 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Currently, 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws banning text messaging for all drivers.

Distracted Driving Prevention Tips

Here are some ways to avoid the temptation to participate in activities that can pull your attention away from the road while driving:

  • Turn off your phone or put it where you cannot reach it while driving.
  • Let people know you are driving and cannot text or talk.
  • Pull over to a safe place if you need to use your phone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and focus on the road.
  • Set a good example for other drivers by not driving distracted.

Texting and driving is a dangerous and deadly habit. It is important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to prevent them. By following these tips, you can help to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

Contact an Experienced PA Texting and Driving Lawyer Today

At Thistle Law, our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers have experience handling all sorts of personal injury claims, including texting and driving accidents. Let our team help you understand your rights and explore all options available to you.

Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 215-525-6824 or filling out our contact form.

Leave a Comment