April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Many organizations, schools and insurance companies around the country, including those in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have launched campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
Many government agencies have also launched campaigns regarding distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its visible enforcement campaign for distracted driving: U Drive, U Text, U Pay. In addition, NHTSA has implemented social media campaigns designed to raise public awareness about the consequences of texting while driving.
Coinciding with Distracted Driving Awareness Month, 2 Pennsylvania senators recently unveiled new PA legislation to strengthen PA’s distracted driving laws. Senate Bill 153 is co-authored by Senator John Wozniak and Senator Rob Teplitz, and the bill would make a driver’s use of a handheld mobile device while operating a motor vehicle a summary secondary offense subject to increased fines. This summary offense could be added only if a motorist is convicted of another traffic violation.
Senator Wozniak said, “Distracted driving is a safety issue that impacts every community in Pennsylvania, so it’s important that we enact commonsense legislation that deters this activity. As Democratic chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am keenly aware of the need to upgrade laws and protect motorists and pedestrians.”
Currently, it is only illegal for PA drivers to text while driving. This includes when drivers are stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. Drivers are still allowed to talk on their phones while driving, whether they are holding the phones to their ears or using a hands-free device. See Pennsylvania Enacts Law Banning Texting While Driving. This bill would also ban talking while driving. Many states have laws that ban talking while driving, as well as texting while driving, such as New Jersey (though drivers are allowed to use hands-free device to talk on the phone).
An important part of the bill is that there would be a required 6 month education program that would be conducted by PennDOT prior to the new violation law going into effect. The senators believe that education is the best way to deter distracted driving.
We certainly hope that this bill gets passed. Texting while driving is a dangerous driving behavior, but it’s not the only one. Talking on the phone is just as dangerous.
We have helped many victims of distracted driving accidents in NJ and PA financially recover for their injuries and damages. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, call the lawyers at White and Williams to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396
*Source: www.pasenate.com (Wozniak, Lawmakers Call for Tougher Distracted Driving Laws)
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