As Pennsylvanians continue to deal with winter weather, we want to remind you that distraction is among the most preventable causes of car accidents in Hazleton.
Our injury attorneys reported last month on the risks of winter driving. Yes, driving in snow, ice and reduced visibility increases your risk for an accident. But that is most often true because of the bad driving habits motorists get away with when the sun is shining. These include speeding, unsafe lane changes, and driving through yellow lights at intersections.
Distracted Driving a Primary Pennsylvania Road Hazard
Other than drunk driving, there might be nothing more dangerous than distraction behind the wheel. In fact, studies have shown motorists using a hand-held device behind the wheel perform similarly to those with a blood-alcohol level of .08 - the legal definition of drunk driving.
More than 10 people are killed and 1,000 injured every day in the United States as a result of distracted driving, according to a recent report in the Huffington Post.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports distracted driving fatalities are increasing faster than those caused by drunk driving, speeding or failure to wear a seatbelt.
Half of all serious motor vehicle collisions involving teenagers are now believed to be caused by distraction.
Hazleton Injuries and Distracted Driving Liability
Regardless of whether you are succeeding with your New Year's resolutions, resolving to be a better driver and talking to your kids is among the best decisions you can make for the safety of your family. If you are an employer, you should already have a distracted driving policy in place.
Under Pennsylvania's old law of joint and several liability, even those found one percent at fault for an accident could be held responsible for the entire amount of a verdict. While the state's Fair Share Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7102, passed for the second time in 2011, it still allows those found more than 60 percent at fault for an accident to be held liable for the entire verdict.
Additionally, in November 2016, the governor signed Daniel's Law, which increases the penalties for texting while driving when a collision results in serious bodily injury or death. The law was named for Daniel Gallatin, a veteran and fireman who was killed in May 2013 when his motorcycle was struck from behind by a texting driver.
While smartphones have become the leading cause of distracted driving, motorists are reminded that talking to passengers, dealing with children or pets, grooming, eating, and looking at outside distractions are also common causes of motor-vehicle collisions. Drivers should be particularly aware in construction zones and when approaching accident scenes.
In the event of an auto accident, you need the legal advocacy of an experienced Hazleton auto accident attorney.