Pennsylvania is cracking down on anyone caught driving while distracted, and the number of distracted driving citations is climbing. Ticketed drivers pay a $50 fine plus $90 for court costs. According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, citations increased by 52 percent statewide in 2017 and 172 percent since 2013.
The heightened emphasis on distracted driving is for good reason: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports 1,188 total deaths on Pennsylvania roads in 2016, with distracted driving a contributing factor in 61 of them.
If you or a loved one was injured or if someone has died in a crash involving distracted driving, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. This includes medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills that are not covered by first party personal injury protection, lost wages and future wage horizon and other economic expenses. You may also have a claim for noneconomic damages such as loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, and disfigurement.
Pennsylvania auto laws are complex. Pennsylvania is governed by the Financial Responsibility Law. Cliff Rieders has a great deal of experience in this field of the law and was involved in its creation. Rieders wrote the book on the subject, Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania. Your case must be handled correctly and competently or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to. It makes sense to have an experienced distracted-driving attorney on your side to protect your rights and maximize the compensation you receive.
Attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann knows the courts, the insurance companies, the system, and what you need to do to increase your chances of winning a good settlement. Our attorneys have successfully represented people who have been harmed in crashes involving distracted drivers throughout Pennsylvania. Contact Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann today by calling for a free consultation to evaluate the circumstances of your accident, or use our online contact form.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the driver from driving and increases the risk of a crash. Distractions can be visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel), or cognitive (taking mind off what you’re doing). Since texting involves all three, it is particularly dangerous. Texting typically takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which is like driving the length of an entire football field with eyes closed.
Pennsylvania law prohibits all drivers from texting while driving, which includes sending, reading or writing a text-based message or e-mail, and from wearing or using headphones or earphones while the car is in motion. This is a primary law, which means that a police officer has the right to pull drivers over and give them a ticket for texting while driving, without having to witness another moving violation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) includes activities such as talking, eating or adjusting radios or navigation devices as distracted driving. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, talking with a passenger could be as distracting as using a phone, and using a speech-to-text system is even more dangerous than using a handheld or hands-free phone.
Your chances of receiving a ticket for distracted driving depend on what county you are driving in. Montgomery County had the highest number of distracted driving citations from 2013 to 2017, with a total of 1,695 citations over those years.
Other top counties for citations are Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Berks counties. Chester County had a total of 963 citations given over that time period, while Bucks County followed closely with 859 citations, Delaware County with 659, and Berks County with 589.
Lycoming County and North Central Pennsylvania counties are crisscrossed by interstate roads, rural roads, and sometimes very bad driving conditions. Distracted driving is exacerbated by bad roads, speeding truck drivers and unsafe drivers who frequently drink and drive.
Lawsuits Against Distracted Drivers
When drivers devote their attention to anything other than the road, they must be held responsible for any injuries they cause. Evidence that a driver was on a cell phone at the time of an accident is admissible in a lawsuit and may support an award of punitive damages against the distracted driver. For punitive damages to be awarded, there must be outrageous conduct. Sometimes punitive damages are not covered by insurance.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in a crash that you suspect was caused by a distracted driver, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Prompt legal consultation can ensure the collection of relevant facts and the preservation of evidence. Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations of two years after the accident for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit, and the sooner you file, the easier it is for your attorney to find witnesses and evidence to help your case.
Achieving Results When it Counts
The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania distracted driving accident attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to another driver’s negligence. Our attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our competent staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service. We have years of experience dealing with the harm that results from distracted driving crashes and have been successful in securing substantial recoveries for legitimate claims.
Cliff Rieders is a Nationally Board-Certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure, a cum laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University as well as Georgetown University Law Center. Rieders is a life member of the American Law Institute, which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States.
Rieders is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award. Cliff Rieders was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years. Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir. Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice. Cliff Rieders is the lawyer that other lawyers call for counsel and advice and is admitted in Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia state courts and many federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
If you or your loved one has suffered harm from someone else’s driving negligence, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling or using our online contact form. Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.