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Distracted Driving — It’s a Danger to All

Earlier this year in Berks County, a tour bus driver was fired from his job for driving while scrolling through his smartphone emails and texts. At one point he reached for another electronic device and took his hands off the steering wheel while the bus was moving. His distracted driving was caught on video by an alarmed passenger.

Not all distractions are illegal, but all might cause accidents and result in serious injury and property damage. To maintain Pennsylvania’s record on lowering highway deaths (2012 had the third-lowest number on record), here are some distractions to avoid:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Tuning the radio or CD player
  • Applying makeup, shaving or combing hair
  • Talking with other passengers
  • Tending to children or pets
  • Eating and drinking

Pennsylvania law does not ban the use of a handheld cellular phone while driving. However, studies have shown that just talking on a cell phone, even a hands-free model, can disrupt our ability to recognize danger and respond timely.

Pennsylvania law does prohibit texting while driving. A law enforcement officer can ticket a driver for texting alone — no other driving infraction is necessary to constitute a legal stop. Once stopped, of course, the officer is allowed to check the driver’s license and registration, search for outstanding warrants, and conduct an open view search of the vehicle.

The problem of texting while driving is much too common and potentially catastrophic. One in five drivers admits to reading or texting while driving.

If you are charged with distracted driving, be sure to consult with experienced defense attorneys to protect your rights.

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