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Distracted drivers in Pennsylvania may face legal consequences

Most of us are familiar that distracted driving can cause serious car accidents that result in significant injuries and harm to victims. It is important for drivers to keep in mind that any activity that removes their hands from the wheel, their eyes from the roadway or takes their focus off the task of driving is considered distracted driving. This can include a variety of behaviors that are potentially dangerous on the roadway.

A variety of everyday behaviors can be considered distracted driving. Distracted driving behaviors can include talking, texting or emailing on a cell phone or smart phone while driving; adjusting a radio or operating a navigation system while driving; reading or writing while driving; interacting with passengers while driving; eating, drinking or smoking while driving; personal grooming while driving; paying too much attention to activities going on outside of the vehicle and roadway while driving; and rubbernecking while driving.

A distracted driver may face different consequences in Pennsylvania for participating in prohibited activities. Pennsylvania law makes it a primary offense to use an Interactive Wireless Communication Device to write, read or send a text-based communication while driving. The distracted driver faces a $50 fine and other costs and fees. In addition, when a distracted driver has caused a distracted driving-related car accident, they may be liable to compensate victims for the physical, financial and emotional damages suffered by the victims.

Victims of a distracted driving-related car accident may face damages including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages that may be compensable through a personal injury claim for damages against the distracted driver. It is important for negligent drivers, such as distracted drivers, to be accountable for the harm they cause and for victims to be familiar with the legal options to hold them accountable.

Source: Penndot.gov, "DISTRACTED DRIVING," Accessed Sept. 28, 2017

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