According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31% of the drivers they surveyed in the US between the ages of 18-64 admitted to reading or sending text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before the survey was conducted. Other alarming figures suggest that more teenagers are killed in motor vehicle accidents due to driving while texting in comparison to drunk driving accidents. Studies show that the chances of getting into an accident are 23 times higher when the motorist is distracted and takes his/her eyes off the road due to typing a message through a text application, email, or any instant messaging service on a cell phone.
Just to demonstrate the severity of how problematic texting while driving really is, 44 states, which also includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, have banned motorists from text messaging or emailing on their cell phones. Exactly how tough are these state bans on texting while driving? On January 2, 2011, Delaware banned talking on a hand-held device and texting while driving. The fine for a first time offender is $75 and between $100-$200 for serial offenses. Since March 8, 2012, Pennsylvania has made texting while driving a primary offense, which carries a $50 fine plus court costs of more than $90.
However, Pennsylvania law does not ban hand-held cell phone use while driving. Despite stringent initiatives to ban texting while driving, motor vehicle accidents are still occurring. According to the Pennsylvania News Media Association, texting while driving, especially amongst teens, still continues to be an epidemic problem. Similar problems continue in Delaware. In 2013 it was reported that law enforcement officers issued 19,500 citations to drivers who were texting or talking on cell phones on a non hands-free device.
After taking cues from Pennsylvania and other states, New Jersey enacted even stricter laws on July 1, 2014, in response to having the highest number of fatalities related to distracted driving in the nation. New Jersey not only bans texting while driving, which makes it a primary offense, but also bans talking on a hand-held device. First time offenders may face a fine between $200 to $400, a second time offense carries a fine of between $400 to $600, and a third time offender may be fined $800 or even have his or her license suspended. New Jersey, does however, allow using hands-free devices cautiously.
Negligent drivers are everywhere, especially those distracted by texting while driving and can cause bodily injury or economic loss. Call Lundy Law Personal Injury Lawyers at 1(800) LUNDYLAW® right now for a free case evaluation if you or your loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver that may have been texting or messaging while driving. We may be able to obtain the compensation you deserve.