A new proposal that would ban the use of hand-held devices while behind the wheel is awaiting a full vote by Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. Below, you can learn what this legislation means for Pennsylvania drivers and how it could help if you are injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was using a hand-held device.
If you were injured in a car accident, schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our Harrisburg car accident attorneys now. We are prepared to fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
Understanding House Bill 37
House Bill 37 has advanced through the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is currently awaiting a vote by the full house. This bill prohibits the use of hands-free technology when behind the wheel and states that use of hands-free technology is completely legal.
The bill also says learner’s permit holders and drivers under age 18 are prohibited from using cellphones at all while driving, unless their vehicle is stopped and off the road. You can use a phone or other GPS device for directions as long as the cellphone or device sits in a docking station or uses Bluetooth technology.
If caught using a hand-held phone or device, drivers will face a fine of $200 ($25 will be paid to the issuing authority and $175 will go to the Distracted Driving Awareness Fund for purposes of education).
This new legislation is considered more comprehensive, as current law only addresses text communications while driving. The legislation is in response to an increase in distracted driving accidents and deaths on Pennsylvania interstates over the years. While technology has greatly improved to deliver more options to curb distracted driving, the distracted driving problem has gotten worse instead of better.
Pennsylvania’s Current Distracted Driving Law
Currently, Pennsylvania law only prohibits drivers from using interactive wireless communication devices such as cellphones or other electronic devices to read, write and send text-based messages while their vehicles are in motion.
Under the law, text-based communications include all written communications received or composed using a wireless device, including emails, text messages and instant messages. Currently, Pennsylvania drivers are not restricted from making or receiving voice calls while behind the wheel.
Conviction for violation of the state’s current distracted driving law carries a fine of $50. With surcharges, court costs and other miscellaneous fees, drivers actually end up paying much more than $50.
How Could This Legislation Help My Car Accident Case?
Stricter distracted driving laws are a benefit to accident victims involved in crashes where distracted driving and cellphone use were a factor.
Distracted driving is considered negligent behavior by a motorist. Citations for breaking distracted driving laws provide evidence that helps establish the at-fault driver’s negligence, which is necessary to recover compensation from the driver and/or his or her insurance company.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by a driver using a cellphone without the legally required hands-free technology, or otherwise breaking Pennsylvania distracted driving laws, the driver’s citation for the violation can be helpful to your case. Your personal injury attorney can collect this information and other evidence to attempt to strengthen your claim.
Get Legal Help After a Crash
If another driver’s use of a hand-held device led to the accident that caused your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our experienced attorneys help victims pursue negligent drivers and recover the maximum compensation they deserve.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available to help you pursue compensation. We charge no upfront fees – you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.