According to recent statistics, distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States. In our state specifically, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation calculated that in 2017, distracted driving led to more than 15,000 auto collisions. It’s no surprise that law enforcement takes attentive driving seriously, and drivers can face various consequences for taking their eyes off the road. Many Pennsylvanian drivers worry about what could happen if a police officer catches them texting and driving. No need to panic because our knowledgeable law firm has all of the answers you need! Continue reading this blog today to learn how a York County, PA Traffic Offense Attorney can provide individualized legal counseling.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M CAUGHT TEXTING AND DRIVING IN PENNSYLVANIA?
In 2016, Pennsylvania enacted “Daniel’s Law” in an attempt to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents and fatalities in our state. This law increased the penalties that distracted drivers face. These drivers can be pulled over and fined if a police officer sees them using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to read or write messages while operating a vehicle in a roadway. This includes using a phone while stopped at a red light. The law defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, digital assistant, smartphone, portable computer, or another electronic device that could be used for messaging systems or using the Internet.
ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THIS LAW?
Yes, there are certain exceptions where drivers won’t be penalized/pulled over for looking at an electronic device while driving. For example, you’re legally allowed to use an IWCD while driving if you:
- Are utilizing a GPS for directions
- Are a trucker, bus driver, or emergency services personnel that is using digital dispatch systems
- Are a public safety employee or healthcare professional reading texts for job duties
- Are talking on the phone or other IWCD hands-free
WHAT PENALTIES CAN I FACE?
A police officer cannot confiscate your device if you’re caught texting and driving, but there are certainly other consequences you could face. The minimum fine for using an IWCD while driving is $50, and this doesn’t include court fees and the various other expenses you’ll need to worry about. Total fees usually come to be around $100 total for distracted driving offenses. You won’t get any demerit points on your license, but your auto insurance could possibly be affected. With the help of an effective attorney, you may be able to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Have you recently been caught texting and driving in Pennsylvania? You might want to speak with a dedicated traffic violation lawyer who can help you fight your charges. Thankfully, Ilkhanoff & Silverstein are on your side! Contact our highly experienced team today for an initial consultation.