On March 13, 2013, Philly.com published an editorial lamenting the fact that Philadelphia’s texting and driving ban doesn’t go far enough to make the roads safe from distracted drivers. The editorial indicates that there have been few tickets actually given statewide since the texting law passed. Further, the editorial writer argues that lawmakers did not go far enough with the texting ban since any phone use is dangerous.
Our Philadelphia, PA accident attorneys know that any type of distraction behind the wheel presents a hazard. While texting may be the riskiest behavior of all, using a cell phone to talk is dangerous too and can up the chances of a crash occurring. A statewide ban on cell phone use in cars, therefore, might potentially help to save lives if such a ban could ever make it through the legislative process.
Cell Phones in Cars Present Dangers
According to the article on Philly.com, Pennsylvania’s texting ban has proved relatively toothless, with just 243 citations in the city of Philadelphia and 1,302 tickets issued statewide last year. While this may not be a lot of people ticketed, however, if the ban prevented anyone from texting and driving then it at least helped to remove one of the most serious risks from the road. As Distraction.gov
reports, a driver who is texting is 23 times as likely to crash his or her vehicle than any other driver.
The law, however, does not go far enough. First, the fact that there is only a texting ban and not a broader cell-phone restriction can make it harder for law enforcement to enforce. When pulling someone over for texting, for example, the driver could potentially argue that he or she was just entering a telephone number rather than sending or receiving a text. And texting and driving is not the only dangerous distracting behavior behind the wheel. Distraction.gov also indicated that someone using any type of hand-held wireless device was four times as likely to get hurt in a car accident. The danger thus extends to all cell phone use. Further, a GPS or MP3 player, might be distracting too and a driver using such a device might not be able to concentrate fully on the roads, thus upping the chances of an accident happening.
Even when a driver uses a headset and keeps his cell phone hands-free, this is still not enough to make the driver safe or to reduce the dangers presented by distraction. For example, as Distraction.gov indicates, a person talking on a cell phone devotes 37 percent less of his brain to paying attention to driving than someone who isn’t chatting away on a wireless device. With your attention span diverted, it is easy to miss what other drivers around you are doing and to get hurt as a result.
As these statistics show, the editorial is correct. A texting and driving ban is not enough to prevent distracted driving accidents in Philadelphia or in the state of Pennsylvania. Drivers who use any type of cell phone or handheld device endanger themselves and others and strict laws banning cell phone use could help to make the roads a lot safer for everyone.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, Bucks County or anywhere in Pennsylvania, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Flager & Associates. Call us at 1-215-953-5200.