Today, we are constantly connected to the world through our smartphones. They send us messages from loved ones, connect us to our jobs, and provide a constant source of entertainment. We check them when we wake up, look at them every 12 minutes, and fall asleep while looking into their screens. We are addicted to our phones. Now, phones have a new companion which makes them even more tempting for drivers to use: the smartwatch.
Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the most common reasons for automobile accidents in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 15,614 accidents were caused by distracted driving. These accidents claimed the lives of 58 people. Distracted driving was the second most common cause of car accidents during 2017, second only to speed-related accidents.
What Are Smartwatches?
A smartwatch is a wearable device that acts as an extension of your smartphone. While a smartwatch tells you the time like a regular watch, its other functions are what make it so appealing. It connects to the internet and interacts with your smartphone and tablet to deliver real-time information on your wrist.
Smartwatches have gained popularity for many phone users, especially since Apple unveiled its smartwatch in 2015. Today, it is not uncommon to see people swiping their watch’s screen or having a conversation through it. Unfortunately, the more smartwatches can do the more potential they have to distract drivers and cause car accidents.
What is Distracted Driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety."
Types of distracted driving include:
- Using a smartwatch or smartphone
- Texting while driving
- Reading maps, emails, or other items
- Watching a video
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Using your navigation system
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Adjusting the vehicle's controls (i.e. CD player, radio, seats, mirrors, etc.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) the number of distracted driving accidents is increasing. Each day in America, nine people are killed and 1,060 are injured in a car accident involving distracted driving. Approximately 69% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted they used their cell phones while driving and one-third of drivers polled admitted they read or sent text message and emails while driving. Alcohol-related accidents were the number one cause of teenage fatalities on our roads. Today, distracted driving has now replaced drunk driving as the number one cause of teenage deaths on the road.
What is Pennsylvania's Law on Distracted Driving?
As with most states in our country, Pennsylvania has enacted laws which make distracted driving illegal. Pennsylvania law prohibits a driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) while driving. Reading, writing, or sending texts, emails, instant messages and other forms of written communication using a smartphone, PDA, laptop, tablet, wireless phone, or other device is strictly forbidden while driving in Pennsylvania. The law does not specifically list smartwatches as a mobile device. However, smartwatches fall within the category of "interactive wireless communication devices" that cause distracted driving.
Pennsylvania takes a strong stance against distracted driving; therefore, the law against distracted driving is a primary offense. A law enforcement officer can stop you for distracted driving if he or she sees you using an IWCD while driving. The officer does not need any other reason for the traffic stop other than the use of an IWCD. If convicted, you face a $50 fine in addition to court costs and other fees.
Car Accidents Involving Smartwatch Distractions
Accidents caused by distracted drivers result in traumatic and life-altering injuries. Smartwatches are simply one of the most recent causes of distracted driving. Victims of distracted driving suffer great physical, emotional, and financial losses due to the negligent, reckless, and careless behavior of a distracted driver. In 2017 alone, 3,166 people lost their lives in car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Injured by a Distracted Driver in A Car Accident? Talk to a Pennsylvania Injury Lawyer Today for Free
If you or a loved one has suffered because of a distracted driver, you have hope for recovery. No one should be forced to suffer from medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with a car accident. Instead, the person who caused their financial difficulties by driving carelessly should be held responsible for their behavior.
At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC, we’re proud of our history helping clients recover from serious car accidents caused by distracted driving. Our firm has been an institution in Pennsylvania since 1922, and our attorneys have won tens of millions for clients since then. Call us today for a free consultation with a member of our team. We never settle for less than clients deserve!
Call us today at (888) 498-3023 for a free consultation. You’ll only pay a fee if we win results for you!