In the Age of Technology, texting and other cell phone use is prominent behind the wheel. Every day, thousands of drivers make the dangerous decision to multitask by using their phones while driving. Sadly, many of these drivers cause serious and fatal car accidents. Looking at the most recent texting and driving accident statistics in Pittsburgh and throughout the United States can help you understand the scope of this issue and the importance of not adding to the problem.
Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Distracted Driving Statistics
Texting and driving is extremely dangerous, as it distracts a driver on multiple levels: manually, visually, and mentally. Texting takes one or both hands off of the wheel, the eyes off of the road, and the mind off of the driving task. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looking at a text message while driving 55 miles per hour is akin to driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Understanding the texting while driving problem starts with examining recent statistics in Pittsburgh and throughout the State of Pennsylvania:
- Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows a total of 11,019 distracted driving collisions in Pennsylvania in 2020.
- Statewide data also shows that the number of distracted driving deaths in the state in 2020 was less than in 2019 – 47 fatalities compared to 62.
- PennDOT reported 696 total car accidents in the state involving drivers using handheld cell phones in 2020. These accidents caused 1 death and 373 injuries.
- Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County is where the only handheld-cell phone-related death in Pennsylvania in 2020 took place. It also had the highest number of related injuries (54).
Statistically, Pittsburgh is the worst city in Pennsylvania for distracted driving accidents and the use of handheld or hands-free cell phones behind the wheel. Every year, dozens of victims go to hospitals for car accidents involving cell phone use in the City of Pittsburgh. This is true despite Pennsylvania’s texting-and-driving ban.
National Cell Phone Statistics
Texting and driving is not just a local problem. It is a national and global epidemic. National data shows that more than 90 percent of car accidents are caused by driver errors. Every day, about eight people lose their lives in accidents involving distracted drivers. Around the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports over 26,000 deaths involving distracted drivers from 2012 to 2019.
Distracted driving deaths are not only to vehicle passengers but bicyclists and pedestrians, as well. In 2019 alone, 3,142 lives were lost and over 400,000 people were injured because of distracted drivers. Distracted driving accidents represented nine percent of all fatal car accidents in the country that year. Teen and young adult drivers ages 16 to 24 are the most common culprits for texting and driving. In one survey, over 60 percent of drivers who texted or emailed while driving in the past 30 days were 18 and younger.
What Is Pittsburgh’s Texting and Driving Law?
As of 2022, 48 states have passed laws prohibiting texting and driving. Pennsylvania is one of them. State law bans all drivers from using interactive wireless communication devices while driving to read, write or send messages, including texts and emails. Texting using a handheld or hands-free technology is a primary offense in Pennsylvania, meaning law enforcement officers do not need another reason to stop drivers. There is a $50 fine for any violations of this law, plus court costs and other surcharges. If a commercial motor vehicle driver is guilty of texting and driving, it will go on the driver’s record.
If you get into a car accident with a driver who you believe was driving while distracted or texting and driving, contact a Pittsburg car accident attorney as soon as possible for a free legal consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation from the driver’s auto insurance provider.