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Enforcing ban on texting and driving problematic in Pennsylvania

Drivers in Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials and legislators are undoubtedly aware of the risks that accompany texting and driving and other behaviors that result in being a distracted driver. While there is a law against texting and driving, there are issues with it that make it difficult for law enforcement to do anything about it. This can be a problem that can result in an auto accident, even if a driver is seen using a smartphone while driving. For those who are in a crash, the possibility that it was due to a distracted driver is significant and could be the key when seeking compensation in a legal filing.

The dangers of texting and driving and other distracting behaviors is known. Drivers are aware of how risky the practice is. Unfortunately, that does not prevent many people from taking part in it. A bill that was meant to ban handheld phones was sponsored by the current state attorney general when he was a legislator. It was amended and passed, but it was done in such a way that it largely prevents law enforcement from doing anything about most forms of distracted driving.

According to the law, drivers cannot text when the vehicle is in motion, but the user can use the phone to dial, look for a number, talk on the phone, read emails and search the Internet. It only states that drivers cannot text. Obviously, this will hinder any attempt on the part of law enforcement to cite drivers for texting and driving, as there is no discernible method in the moment of knowing what the driver is doing on the phone. Even if the officer stops a driver to investigate the possibility that he or she was texting, the officer is only allowed to ask politely to see the phone and the driver is not obligated to comply.

It should be remembered that after an accident a subpoena can be issued to see if the driver was texting and driving. This can be imperative in a legal case. With the number of accidents that are caused by distracted drivers, those who are injured or lose a loved one in a crash should know how to move forward with a legal case to be compensated. There can be medical expenses, lost wages and long-term problems for the injured person and the family. Discussing a case with a lawyer who is experienced in all forms of car accidents and investigating them is crucial to litigation.

Source: Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com, "Pennsylvania Texting While Driving Law Nearly Unenforceable," John Shumway, Oct. 27, 2017

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