Distracted driving causes about 400,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths on U.S. roads and highways. Distracted driving can be defined as the practice of driving a car or other motor vehicle while engaged in another activity. More often than not, distracted driving accidents are caused by drivers who talk on the phone as well as read or send a text message while driving.
However, there are many other types of activities that may distract a driver from staying focused on the road. In Pennsylvania, many forms of distracted driving are prohibited by law. Our Philadelphia distracted driver accident attorney from Dan Doyle Law Group explains that Pennsylvania makes it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle.
Pennsylvania’s texting-while-driving ban applies to not only cellphones and smartphones, but also computers, laptops, tablets, smartwatches and other electronic devices that can be used to send and receive text messages or emails as well as surf the Internet.
Fact: Pennsylvania law does not prohibit drivers from talking on the phone while driving, though the fact that you were talking on the phone may still be used against you when determining liability in an accident.
Texting or engaging in any other distracting activity while driving is dangerous because it significantly impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle and increases the risk of causing or being involved in a car accident.
“Distracted driving goes well beyond texting or talking on the phone,” says our experienced distracted driver attorney in Philadelphia. In fact, distractions can be broken down into three categories:
This type of distraction occurs when the driver has to take his or her eyes off the read, even for a second or two. Examples of visual distractions include: sending a text message, looking at a passenger, looking at a pedestrian on the sidewalk, switching the radio station, checking the GPS system, looking in the rear-view mirror to comb one’s hair, and many more.
This one can be very difficult to prove, as you cannot get inside the driver’s head and thoughts prior to the car crash. Mental distraction occurs when the driver is unable to keep his or her mind focused on driving. Examples of mental distractions include: being overwhelmed by thoughts, engaging in a conversation with a passenger, being physically exhausted, suffering from depression or anxiety, being in the state of emotional distress, and driving with too little sleep, among many other examples.
Every time a driver has to take his or her one or both hands off the wheel while driving, he or she is engaging in a distracting activity that affects manual attention. For example, adjusting the side-view mirror, switching the radio station, holding a cup of coffee, drinking water from a bottle, holding a phone, and many more. When something affects the driver’s manual attention while driving, that driver may lose control of his or her vehicle and/or be unable to react in time to avoid a collision or obstacle.
That’s why texting is so dangerous and causes so many car accidents in Philadelphia and all across Pennsylvania. Our Philadelphia distracted driving lawyer explains that texting affects all three types of attention: visual (taking the eyes off the road to look at the text message), mental (thinking about the proper response to the text), and manual (holding a phone with one or both hands and/or typing a message).
No wonder why studies show that the risk of a car accident is 23 times greater when a car driver is texting while operating a motor vehicle. Studies also estimate that on average, drivers distracted by texting take their eyes off the road for an average 4.6 seconds, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field (360 feet) at a speed of 55 mph.