The courts in Pennsylvania have reported that they are seeing more citations for texting while driving than in previous years in spite of the statewide ban enacted in 2012. Slightly more than 1,400 drivers were cited last year for texting law violations. Nationwide, more than 3,000 individuals died in car accidents that involved distracted drivers.
And while last year’s numbers were an increase, we all know that there are many more times that number who are texting and driving every day. In 2012, it was estimated that there were 6 billion text messages sent every day.
Part of the difficulty with the issue is enforcing a law like the texting ban. It is difficult for Pennsylvania State Police and other law enforcement to observe the furtive glances that many drivers are using to read or write a text on the smartphone.
The state police point out that technology affords other distractions, like headphones on a driver of vehicle. One state trooper notes, “A lot of people just don’t realize that is illegal.” Wearing headphones with your music turned up could mean you would hear an emergency vehicles siren and cause a crash.
The reality is anything that removes your attention from the road and vehicles is dangerous. Smartphones and texting are dangerous because they are so ubiquitous and engrossing. They can create manual, visual and cognitive distraction.
In a moving car, in the time it takes to read a text, your vehicle may have traveled the length of a football field, all without your being aware of your surroundings. A vehicle or motorcycle could attempt a left turn, or suddenly stop, and could you return your attention back and take the appropriate action in the time remaining before you crash?
Triblive.com, “Distracted driving arrests rise throughout Pennsylvania,” Melissa Daniels, April 28, 2015