Distracted driving raises pedestrian fatalities by 30%

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The number of pedestrian deaths caused by distracted driving has risen dramatically in recent years, according to a study conducted recently at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In 2012, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a statewide ban on texting while driving, which is one of the biggest causes of distracted driving accidents nationwide.

By analyzing crash data pulled from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a database of fatal traffic accidents maintained by the federal government, UNMC researchers concluded that the number of pedestrians killed by distracted drivers in the U.S. spiked over 30 percent from 2005, when there were 344 such deaths, to 2010, when there were 500. The number of bicyclists killed by distracted drivers also increased substantially during  this period, from 56 fatalities to 73.

Distracted driving in Pennsylvania

During daylight hours in the United States, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates, there are approximately 660,000 drivers distracted by cellphones and other electronic devices at any given moment.

Although texting while driving is against the law in 41 states -- including Pennsylvania -- some experts say these laws do not go far enough to combat the nation's distracted driving problem, which has reached epidemic proportions over the past several years. Specifically, says the author of the UNMC study, these laws can be difficult to enforce, and the penalties they impose are often relatively minor.

In Pennsylvania, a new law was enacted in March 2012 to address the issue of distracted driving. Unlike texting bans in many other states, which allow police to ticket texting drivers only if they have been pulled over for another offense, the Pennsylvania ban permits police to stop drivers specifically for texting while driving. As a result, the Pennsylvania texting ban may be easier to enforce than similar laws in other states.

Not just a teen issue

Distracted driving educational campaigns and enforcement efforts often focus heavily on teen drivers, but some research suggests that this tendency may be misguided. In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by AT&T found that adult drivers were actually more likely than teen drivers to admit to texting while driving. And, at least in one area of Pennsylvania, law enforcement records appear to support those findings: Of the 113 citations issued for texting while driving in Allegheny County in 2012, only four involved drivers under the age of 20, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Regardless of age, distracted drivers in Pennsylvania can be held legally and financially liable to those who are hurt as a result of their actions. If you have been injured in a crash with a distracted driver in Pennsylvania, consider talking your situation over with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your options and help you pursue financial compensation for your lost wages, medical bills and other losses.

Article provided by Marrone Law Firm, LLC


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