Personal Injury Lawyers
Philadelphia and Bucks County

Distracted Driving Major Cause of Philadelphia Car Accidents

Apr 2014

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

The month began with the launch of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s first nationwide distracted driving enforcement and advertising campaign. The effort comes as the USA Today reports more than 1 in 4 of the nation’s traffic accidents are now caused by cell-phone use.

Distracted driving accident attorneys in Philadelphia know Pennsylvania has finally joined more than 40 other states in162661269 prohibiting drivers from texting at the wheel. The law prohibits the use of an interactive communications device for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. However, enforcement remains a challenge because drivers are not prohibited from dialing or using a hand-held cell phone.

Pennsylvania anti-texting laws often difficult to enforce

As The Morning Call recently reported, enforcement is difficult for law enforcement officials because they might not be able to tell the difference between a talking driver and a texting driver.

“Out on the street, is it very difficult to tell if a person is texting? Yes — I won’t make that a secret,” said Allentown Police Capt. William Reinik, who is in charge of the traffic division.

In Philadelphia, the number of tickets issued dropped from 243 in the year after the ban was passed, to just 91 tickets last year. Statewide, authorities have issued little more than 1,000 tickets a year since the law was enacted, which is having little impact on the risks faced by motorists. Authorities report distracted driving was to blame for 1.152 crashes and 59 traffic deaths in Pennsylvania in 2011.

Of course, our Philadelphia injury lawyers know cell phones are far from the only distraction faced by drivers; eating, grooming, applying makeup, using in-car electronics and talking to passengers can all take your eyes from the road and increase your risks of being involved in a serious or fatal traffic accident. The NHTSA reports at least 3,328 people were killed and more than 421,000 injured in distracted-driving collisions last year.

Teen drivers and texting accident risks

As with other examples of poor driving decisions, teens are among those at highest risk. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports texting while driving kills 11 teens per day. Other stats highlighting the risk to teens include:

-Teens are four-times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash while talking on a cell phone.

-94 percent of teens identify texting and driving as a serious threat, yet one-third admit to regularly doing so anyway, according to a study by AAA.

-A teen with one other passenger doubles the risk of a collision. A teen driver with two or more passengers faces five-times the fatal accident risks.

-Half of all teenagers admit to texting and driving. About one-fourth of teens admit to responding to at least one text message every time they drive.

About 30 students from high schools in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Philadelphia counties recently participated in a Teen Safe Driving Competition at the Technical College High School’s Pickering Campus, according to the Montgomery Times Herald. The young drivers first attended a presentation on distracted driving.

Don’t be shy when it comes to getting the word out about the dangers of distracted driving — and make it a special point to talk to the young driver in your family.

Our distracted driving accident lawyers in Philadelphia can help. Contact Flager & Associates at 215-953-5200 today to schedule a consultation. 

Flager & Associates is a Pennsylvania Law Firm. We cover cases across Philadelphia, Yardley, Bristol, Bensalem and Levittown/ Fairless Hills. Most of the cases we cover are auto accidents, slip and fall, and product liability related.

Flager & Associates

Philadelphia Traffic Deaths Shows Street Design Key to Pedestrian Safety

Apr 2014

Pedestrian accident deaths were 15 percent higher in the United States in 2012 as compared with 2009. The number of fatalities has increased an average of 4.9 percent each year since 2009 and experts do not understand why. 

With traffic safety professionals stymied about how to reduce pedestrian fatalities, research is underway by activists nationwide to help understand the risks faced by walkers. For example, one analysis of traffic deaths in Philadelphia between 2008 and 2012 showed that there were 158 deaths citywide but only 16 pedestrian deaths in Center City. The study of locations where fatal crashes occurred led to the conclusion that street design is the biggest driving factor in reducing collisions.

If this is true, then the passage of the new Safe Streets Act of 2014 could help to reduce the number of people dying on roads throughout the United States. Of course, there is no guarantee that the law will pass and even if it does, it is not nearly enough to make the roads as safe as they should be for walkers and bicyclists. Pedestrians who do suffer injury have the legal right to compensation and should contact an experienced Delaware Valley accident lawyer for assistance.

Street Design is Key to Safety for Pedestrians

The Safe Streets Act of 2014 was introduced into the United States Senate. The Act would require that states and local municipal organizations establish Complete Streets policies and apply those policies to new federally-funded transportation projects.

Throughout the United States, more than 238 local jurisdictions have reportedly put Complete Streets policies into place already. These policies simply mandate that roads and transportation infrastructure be designed with the safety of all road users in mind and not just for people in cars. Road design needs to address the needs of walkers, bicycle riders, children, elderly people, freight vehicles and those who utilize public transportation.

The federal Department of Transportation is also directed by the Act to establish regulations to determine if local jurisdictions are complying with the law and using Complete Streets policies.

Since street design is seen as key to reducing deaths, the passage of this Act could be a good step towards saving the lives of pedestrians. However, it is a very small step.

The fact is, in the United States, just 1.6 percent of federal transportation dollars in 2012 were devoted to walkers and bicyclists. A total of 12 percent of trips are taken by walkers and bicyclists, yet a disproportionately low amount of money is going towards making these road-users safer.

While there was a slight reduction in pedestrian accident fatalities in the first half of 2013 (8.7 percent fewer deaths in the first half of the year than in 2012), there were still 1,985 people killed nationwide in just a six month period of time. Further, experts couldn’t explain the decline except to speculate that an improving economy meant that more people were driving instead of walking.

With thousands dying each year, it is clearly not enough to just pass a bill requiring that states use better principles for road design going forward. Driver and pedestrian education efforts need to be undertaken and a serious effort needs to be made to adapt existing infrastructure to bicyclists and pedestrians.

A Delaware Valley accident lawyer can help collision victims. Contact Flager & Associates at 215-953-5200 today to schedule a consultation. 

Flager & Associates is a Pennsylvania Law Firm. We cover cases across Philadelphia, Yardley, Bristol, Bensalem and Levittown/ Fairless Hills. Most of the cases we cover are auto accidents, slip and fall, and product liability related.

Flager & Associates