For Pennsylvanians who harbor concerns about road safety and the potential problem of encountering a distracted driver, the statewide statistics could be viewed as positive. The most recent numbers from the state court system show that there was a substantial reduction in the number of drivers who were cited by law enforcement for distracted driving. That, however, is misleading. Looking at the underlying numbers – including road fatalities – in Pennsylvania and across the nation paints a clearer and more worrisome picture.
Distracted driving citations drop by nearly half in Pennsylvania
The statistics show that there were just over 2,160 citations issued to drivers who were distracted behind the wheel in 2021. That is a drop from nearly 4,300 in 2019. The total was cut by 47% in 2020 and 6% in 2021. While that might suggest that drivers are getting the message as to the possible risks of distracted driving, the number of accidents says otherwise.
In 2021, there was a one-quarter rise in fatal accidents because of distracted drivers in the state. Those who suffered serious injuries rose by 17%. These are just the preliminary numbers and they might get worse when the full information is accrued. Sixty-two people died in a distracted driving crash in Pennsylvania in 2019. It lowered to 47 in 2020. These numbers may be unique because fewer people were on the road and law enforcement reduced its enforcement because of health and safety protocols.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 8% of all traffic fatalities in 2020 were related to distraction. This includes using handheld devices, but there are other forms of distraction such as eating, drinking, changing the radio, grooming, interacting with passengers and more. In 2020, around 420,000 people suffered injuries and approximately 3,142 people lost their lives in a distracted driving collision. Government entities and safety advocates are so worried about this problem that national and state programs are being put in effect to address it.
It is important to be protected after an auto accident
With the medical costs, lost wages, long-term care needs and radical life changes that accompany any motor vehicle accident, it is vital for those who were hurt or lost a loved one to think about the future. Insurance companies will try to minimize the payouts to keep costs in line. Having protection is imperative to make sure the case is accurately assessed and investigated to determine how and why it happened. If distraction was a factor, this could be a critical part of how to move forward. Discussing the case with caring and experienced professionals can be helpful with how to proceed.