A Pennsylvania legislator is starting a new initiative to keep drivers safer this week called "STASH and Avoid a CRASH". This iniative is meant to draw awareness and reduce incidences of distracted driving in PA. STASH encourages drivers to put their cell phones in the glove compartments while they're driving, or use a GPS docking system on their dashboard to avoid handheld use while driving. Although texting while driving is illegal in PA, distracted driving is still a huge problem across the state.
In recent news, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that PennDOT, our state's transportation department, can be held liable for vehicular injuries caused by dangerous guardrails on our state's highways. Usually, the state cannot be sued for damages due to negligence under an act called the Sovereign Immunity Act; however, it was ruled that exemptions can be made for state guardrails that were installed negligently and whose design creates a dangerous situation. This new ruling came after a case in which a person was in a car accident during winter. The snowy and icy conditions caused the driver to spin out and hit a guardrail. The guardrail ended up spearing the car and also caused injuries to the driver. Although this exemption cannot be assumed in all car accident cases on our highways, it is an important ruling to keep in mind.
When you are driving and another car hits you, you may know that you may be able to seek legal compensation for your injuries. However, sometimes people do not realize that you have rights as a car passenger, too. If you are a passenger and are involved in a car accident in which you are injured, you can also potentially seek compensation for your injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, one or both drivers may have paid a role in the corresponding injuries. Either way, the passenger may be able to seek compensation for any injuries sustained in the crash.
As students are going back to school and driving their friends around, it is important to talk to your teens and tell them about these statistics. Infographic courtesy of AAA.
Unfortunately, there have been many recent reports in central and western Pennsylvania involving accidents due to winter road conditions. Ice, snow, sleet, and freezing rain can cause accidents for even the most careful of drivers. There are some important things to consider when driving this winter, which, even though they may be second nature to most native Pennsylvanians, are worth checking out to see if there is anything you're missing!
As a heads up, you should know that on November 4th, Governor Wolf signed a bill known as "Daniel's Law" into effect. This bill enforces harsher penalties on those who engage in distracted driving. Within this bill, people who receive a distracted driving ticket will be punished similarly to those who engage in drunk driving. This law was proposed after a Pennsylvanian named Daniel Gallatin was killed when a distracted driver crashed into the back of his motorcycle and killed him. According to Governor Wolf, "This behavior, which has been allowed to go under-punished for far too long, has been demonstrated to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Distracted driving has fatal, irreversible, and grave consequences and by signing this Bill I hope to make our roads and highways safer for our citizens, and everyone using them." (as quoted on PersonalInjury.com).
- Teach your child situational awareness, such as staying on sidewalks, looking before crossing a street, and taking care when grabbing anything they may have dropped on the road.
- Pay special attention to higher-risk areas for car/pedestrian accidents, such as by a school and near area bus stops.
- Supervise your children after school hours when they are playing outside.
- If you child is participating in an activity that takes place on a street, such as biking, rollerskating, riding a scooter, or skateboarding, make sure they wear proper protective gear. Also make sure the child knows how to safely stop and move out of the way of oncoming traffic.