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State increases penalties for a distracted driver car accident

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.

Pennsylvania drivers have even more reasons to put the phone down while they are behind the wheel. The state recently increased possible penalties relating to a car accident that is attributed to distracted driving. High school students in one area recently learned firsthand about the dangers that an inattentive driver poses to others.

The high school hosted a speaker who discussed what a distracted driver took from her family about 48 months ago. She related how just a few months before her wedding day, her father was a victim of a driver who was purportedly sending texts while driving. Her father's motorcycle was hit from the rear. He died from his injuries.

Now, in part through her efforts, Pennsylvania has raised the penalties that a distracted driver could face. The new guidelines are based on the same standards that impaired drivers risk when they cause an accident. If an inattentive driver causes a fatal wreck, a judge could add 60 months in jail. If another person is injured in this type of collision, the penalty could be 24 months in jail on top of any other consequences.

The new law, referred to as Daniel's Law after the woman's father, took effect at the beginning of the year. An officer stated that drivers who are suspected of causing a car accident will have their cell phones searched to determine whether it was being used at the time of the wreck. Families that have lost a loved one can file a wrongful death suit against the person deemed responsible for the wreck. Likewise, if someone suffers serious injuries due to an accident, he or she can file a personal injury suit. When these litigation efforts are successful, the monetary award may help ease the stress caused by mounting medical bills and related costs.

Source: wkbn.com, "Woman shares loss with Hickory students, warns against texting and driving", Dave Sess, April 7, 2017

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