There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to driving on the roadways. Ensuring that you are paying attention to what you are doing while driving is just as important as knowing and being cognizant of what everyone else is doing as well. That is probably the hardest part of driving, keeping track of what others are doing on the roadways. Instances of distracted drivers are a real problem and can lead to car crashes with grave outcomes. Driving is a serious activity that requires the utmost attention to detail.
One of the biggest problems in the age of smartphones is texting while driving. Because we live in an age where people can connect with one another at the drop of a hat, there are no boundaries with respect to communication. Texting is one of the more popular ways to communicate and unfortunately people tend to do this while they are driving.
A number of states have enacted bans and laws against texting while driving, however, Pennsylvania is one of the only states that allow a police officer to stop a driver if they witness them texting while in the car. Most other laws on this subject require that the vehicle be stopped for another unlawful reason and only then can they be ticketed for texting while driving if appropriate. Pennsylvania has recently taken the law a step further.
Accidents that occur where distracted drivers are involved are treated in the same manner as other vehicular accidents as far as the courts are concerned. The victim in the accident may sue the party at fault for the accident where feasible and legally viable. Depending on the accident and the circumstances involved, the courts take into account all of the facts of the crash and make legal decisions accordingly. Usually, when people bring a court claim after a car crash, they are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Texting while driving has become a real problem, which is probably why most states are looking for some type of handle on the matter hence the recent laws on the issue. Those involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver should understand that they might have a cause of action for their negligence.
Source: Digital Journal, "Study: distracted driving pedestrian fatalities up by over 30 percent," Dec. 19, 2013