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Pennsylvania making efforts to prevent distracted driving accidents

Pennsylvania Auto Facts You Should Know

Have you ever noticed a driver traveling well below the speed limit and drifting out of his or her lane? Chances are, if you are on the road with any sort of frequency, this type of behavior is not foreign to you. While most people associate these behaviors with drivers who are impaired by Alcohol or Drugs, drivers are exhibiting this risky conduct in increasing numbers due to distractions behind the wheel.

Distracted driving comes in many forms, including distractions caused by:

  • Cellphones
  • Taking to other occupants in the vehicle
  • Eating
  • Changing the radio station
  • Picking up an item that fell on the floor
  • Using a GPS device

Cellphones are one of the most common and hazardous types of distractions for motorists. Cellphones can distract drivers in many ways, as they are often used for:

  • Talking
  • Texting
  • Surfing the Internet
  • Navigating

In an effort to combat the harmful consequences of drivers distracted by cellphones, states across the country - including Pennsylvania - have taken steps to prevent Distracted Driving Accidents.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission decided to offer free Wi-Fi services at every service plaza on the Turnpike. The Wi-Fi service will be available for users who are inside the service plazas, and is expected to encourage drivers to adhere to the "Text-Free Turnpike" campaign that was implemented in 2010.

The chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike stated, "Offering Wi-Fi fits nicely into our ongoing efforts to encourage motorists to reduce distractions and focus on driving behind the wheel." He added that the hope is motorists will now pull into a service plaza to use their cellphones, rather than participating in risky behaviors, such as texting while driving.

Avoid distracted driving accidents in Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, there were 13,790 motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers in Pennsylvania in 2010. In addition, distracted driving accidents led to 66 Fatalities in Pennsylvania that year.

Texting while behind the wheel is one of the more dangerous types of cellphone driver distraction, as it distracts the driver visually, manually and cognitively. When a driver reads or sends a text message, he or she typically must look away from the road for about 4.6 seconds. If the driver is traveling at 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. A study conducted by Virginia Tech revealed that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than their non-distracted counterparts.

Due to the particularly hazardous nature of this behavior, Pennsylvania Law prohibits all motorists from texting while driving. Motorists who violate the law are subject to a fine of $50.

Despite the law and efforts made by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, some Pennsylvania drivers will continue to drive while distracted. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Consulting with an experienced, Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.

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