PennDOT urges drivers to avoid distractions

CLARION The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is encouraging drivers to not drive distracted. Anything that causes a motorist to take their attention away from driving, eyes off the road or hands off the wheel is a distraction and can lead to motor vehicle crashes.

According to 2019 PennDOT data, there were 13,776 distracted driver crashes, resulting in 62 fatalities. Distractions are everywhere and can include adjusting the radio, navigation or temperature control, eating or drinking, personal grooming, talking to passengers, or using a cell phone.

Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that's the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Pennsylvania's Texting-While-Driving Ban prohibits as a primary offense any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based communication while his or her vehicle is in motion.

The following are facts about the law:

4Defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, personal digital assistant, smartphone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet.

4Defines a text-based communication as a text message, instant message, email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD.

4The penalty is a summary offense with a $50 fine, plus court costs and other fees.

4The violation carries no points as a penalty and will not be recorded on the driver record for non-commercial drivers. It will be recorded on commercial drivers' records as a non-sanction violation.

4The texting ban does not include the use of a GPS device, a system or device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, or a communications device that is affixed to a mass transit vehicle, bus or school bus. The law does not authorize the seizure of an IWCD.

Drivers are not able to react as quickly to a situation while distracted. It is imperative that motorists pay attention and be aware of traffic, construction zones, bus stops, and traffic signals and signs.

For more information on distracted driving, visit http://www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.

Subscribe to PennDOT news in the Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties at http://www.penndot.gov/District10.