Jail Time for Texting & Driving Says Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Rand Spear

driver texting while behind the wheel
November 21, 2016
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

New Pennsylvania law imposes jail time for some accidents involving drivers distracted by cell phones says Philadelphia car accident attorney Rand Spear.

Daniel Gallatin was a father, grandfather, veteran and fireman for nearly 40 years when he was killed in 2013 when his motorcycle was struck by a driver who was texting while driving in Hickory Township in Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania. Those who cared about him took action and helped pass Daniel’s Law which was signed by Governor Wolf earlier this month. This new state law imposes jail time for texting while driving in some situations. Philadelphia car accident lawyer Rand Spear says drivers are needlessly distracting themselves with cell phones and causing serious injuries and deaths.

Under the new law drivers distracted by their cell phones could be sentenced up to five years in prison if a motor vehicle accident results in a fatality. If texting while driving causes serious bodily injury it could result in a two year sentence. Under past law the highest fine for texting while driving, a primary offense in Pennsylvania, was $50. The driver who killed Gallatin served sixty days in jail, seven months of work release and house arrest on manslaughter charges, according to the Philly Voice.

More than 14,800 crashes were caused by drivers distracted by cell phones in 2015 in Pennsylvania, resulting in 66 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide distracted driving contributed to the deaths of 3,328 people in 2012 and about 421,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.

William Van Camp was distracted by texting while driving in Bucks County in 2011 when his Volkswagen collided with a pickup truck, causing severe injuries to the two men inside. As part of his criminal sentence he needs to speak to young drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, according to NBC10.

Anthony Arminio and his father were in the truck. Arminio suffered broken legs, a broken pelvis, a broken hip and bleeding to his brain because of the accident. His father’s neck was broken. After three years the two have gotten more than $400,000 in medical treatment but both are still in pain due to their injuries.

Van Camp sent or received 13 text messages in the 12 minutes leading up to the accident. He admits to texting to three different people while behind the wheel. Van Camp can’t remember what he was texting about or who he was texting with at the time of the accident but he’s not forgetting the consequences. He spent nine months in prison, had to complete fifty hours of community service and pay restitution.

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident caused by a driver distracted by his or her cell phone whether you were in a vehicle or as a pedestrian in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact Philadelphia car accident lawyer Rand Spear at 888-373-4LAW today so you can set up a free consultation to discuss the accident, how the law may apply in your situation and what you should do next to protect your rights to compensation for your injuries.

Photo courtesy of Oregon Dept. of Transportation