August 1, 2014

The widespread appeal of handheld electronic devices such as mobile phones has led to a dramatic rise in distracted driving. A Pennsylvania organization known as Just Drive PA, has launched an effort in June to increase public awareness about the link between distracted driving and car accidents. Just Drive PA has collected data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and created a website to get its message out to the public.

Perhaps one of the most surprising details about distracted driving is that some states only require that new drivers refrain from texting while behind the wheel. Pennsylvania has taken a more strict approach. Drivers of all ages are prohibited from texting while driving. However, it’s a mistake to think that texting while behind the wheel is the only form of distracted driving. The driver is considered distracted when their attention is taken away from driving. That means anytime that their eyes are diverted away from the road or their hands are removed from the wheel.

Here are just a few examples of activities that constitute distracted driving:

— eating, drinking or smoking

— grooming, applying makeup

— interacting with a pet that is moving around loose inside the car

— reaching into the back seat for something

— adjusting mirrors and headlights

Of course, this list is not exhaustive and used mostly to demonstrate activities that could constitute distracted driving.

Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, law enforcement officials are now handing out $50 citations for anyone caught using an Interactive Wireless Communications Device while driving. In addition to the fine, any resident of the Keystone State that receives the citation must also pay associated court costs and other fees.

Source: Just Drive PA, “Distracted driving. Pennsylvania’s texting-while-driving ban” Jul. 30, 2014