Getting the message about texting and driving in Pennsylvania

Today, it's more common to see a cellphone in the hands of a teenager than not. But it isn't just teens who enjoy the fun and usefulness of cellphones and smart phones; adults of all ages take advantage of the opportunity to get connected with family, friends and associates at any time they wish with modern phone technology. While amazing, these phones can also be deadly if used at the wrong time. For this reason, texting and driving has been banned in the state, says the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Texting while driving is possibly the most dangerous form of distracted driving, according to Distraction.gov. When a person looks down from the road to concentrate on a phone screen, his or her chances of getting into a crash are increased by at least three times. Yet despite the dangers, people still text and drive. 20 percent of teenagers and 10 percent of adults have admitted to sending and receiving text messages behind the wheel.

Distracted driving awareness programs making progress in schools

Fortunately, a number of educational programs that have been making the rounds in Pennsylvania high schools seem to be having an effect, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. These programs, which focus on driving simulators and setting up realistic crash scenes, help countless teens in the state make better choices about using their cellphones while driving.

Not everyone is getting the message. Last fall a 43-year-old woman went to trial for a tragic car accident in Hickory Township that resulted in the death of a motorcyclist, reported CBS Pittsburgh. According to authorities, the woman admitted to have been distracted by a text message and didn't notice the motorcyclist; he was dragged under her SUV after she struck him. The woman was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and texting and driving, among other serious charges.

Other dangerous forms of distracted driving

Along with reading and writing text messages while driving, other forms of distraction can result in serious injuries or death. These include:

  • Talking on a cellphone.
  • Eating or drinking.
  • Adjusting a radio or music player.
  • Using a navigation system.
  • Being distracted by passengers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that any of these actions while driving are risky because they take the driver's hands off the wheel or their eyes or mind off the road.

Getting help from an attorney

Educational efforts can make a difference, but won't guarantee that everyone will avoid texting and other distractions while driving. If you've been hurt in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.