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Improved highway safety likely with harsher penalties for texting

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

The state of Pennsylvania has seen its share of tragedies on the highways. Recently, Governor Tom Wolfe took a stand to improve highway safety by signing a law to increase the penalties for distracted drivers who cause accidents. The law went into effect immediately, and some are especially hopeful that it will make a difference.

The family and friends of a firefighter worked to get the law passed after he was killed by a distracted driver. The driver was texting when she slammed into the man on his motorcycle. Family members and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts expressed disbelief when the woman was sentenced to 60 days in jail and fined only $200.

By signing the new law, Governor Wolfe gives judges the ability to sentence anyone convicted of causing an accident while texting and driving up to five years in jail if the accident results in someone's death. If anyone is injured in the accident, the distracted driver may be sentenced to two years. The firefighter's family hopes these harsher penalties will deter people from using their mobile devices while driving, thereby potentially saving many lives.

The governor is also optimistic that other states will follow the lead of Pennsylvania to increase highway safety. Through more severe punishments, victims and family members may feel some satisfaction. Additionally, many find peace of mind by pursuing personal injury claims against the distracted drivers who caused their accidents. Not only do such claims seek to hold negligent drivers accountable, but they may also provide compensation for a victim's pain and suffering.

This blog entry was posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Source: wfmj.com, "Stricter texting and driving penalties take effect in PA", Matt Stone, Nov. 4, 2016

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