On the Radar – Distracted Driving

State Police currently focused on distracted driving enforcement initiative

by State Trooper Angela Bieber – January 27, 2017

Distracted Driving is any activity that takes your attention from the primary task of driving. It includes anything that requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel, take your eyes off the road, or take your mental focus from driving.

The PA State Police are currently focused on a distracted driving enforcement initiative. Informational pamphlets are being distributed during traffic stops to help increase all drivers’ awareness of the problem of distracted driving.

Statistics show us that 85-90% of all traffic crashes are caused by some sort of driver error – meaning we have the power to impact our traffic safety by driving safer. Distracted driving was the 2nd leading cause of crashes in 2015, falling only behind speed-related crashes. There were 61 fatal crashes in PA caused by distracted driving in 2015.

Recently, at the beginning at January 2017, Daniel’s Law went into effect. Daniel’s Law adds increased penalties for anyone convicted of causing a crash by distracted driving. If the crash resulted a death, 5 additional years of incarceration are added. If the crash resulted in injury, 2 additional years of incarceration are added.

Junior drivers have added restrictions to the number of passengers they can have in the vehicle while driving. The first 6 months of a Jr license limits the passengers to 1 (unless they are immediate family with a parent or guardian). After the first 6 months, the restriction is no more than 3 passengers.

But distracted driving is more than a teen driver problem. Many adults are also distracted by radios, billboards, phones, and other passengers.

Distracted driving is not solely a driver problem either. Passengers in the car play a big part in safe driving. We need to be responsible passengers and try not to add driction to the driver’s task. If the person driving is distracted, the passenger can also remind them that they need to be a safe driver.

PA law still allows for hand held devices to be used to talk, just not sending electronic messages. Unless, you are driving a commercial vehicle. In that case, everything must be hands-free.

Living in the Northern Tier, you may often travel across the state border to NY. Remember that NY law is different than PA law. NY law does not allow for hand held devices to talk or send messages.

Idea/Concept: Trooper Bieber
Videography: Cody Getz, Andrew Moore, Tyler Burgett
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Trooper Bieber
Additional Home Page Staff: Rhonda Pearson

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