Should Distracted Driving Be a Criminal Offense in Pennsylvania?

In Philadelphia and across the rest of Pennsylvania, drivers know that drinking and driving hugely increases the risk of being involved in a fatal or catastrophic car accident. Drivers should also know that if they cause such an accident when they are over the legal limit of intoxication, that driver will be met with serious criminal consequences. Thankfully, that is enough of a deterrent for most Pennsylvania drivers to abstain from such activity.

However, arguably as dangerous is distracted driving. Everything from texting while driving to putting on makeup means that an individual is not focusing on the road, and they are thereby putting both their life and innocent other lives on the road at risk. While the potential for a catastrophic or fatal accident is still a huge risk with any form of distracted driving, there are far less criminal consequences associated with such negligence, compared to drunk driving or other forms of negligence.

Distracted driving is a real problem, and some are calling for harsher penalties associated with accidents that are caused by distracted drivers. Each and every single day, an estimated 1,200 victims are injured nationally, including here in Pennsylvania, as a result of a car accident with a distracted driver.

Whatever the distraction may be, it is obviously not worth radically altering an innocent victim’s life. Unfortunately, for some there is just not enough of a disincentive to avoid such behavior. One woman from out of state that was recently victimized in a crash with a distracted driver says, “Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds, that’s why this happened to me.”

After the dizzying crash, the woman came to realize that her bone was sticking through the flesh of her leg. She has already had to have multiple surgeries in the short span since the accident. A fund has been set up for this victim to assist with the medical expenses following with this distracted driving accident.

A personal injury claim can also in some instances assist victims here in Pennsylvania financially recover following a devastating car accident caused by a negligent driver.

Source:, “Victim of distracted driving: ‘two seconds’ changed my life,” Mike Headrick, Feb. 19, 2013

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