About a month after the state of Pennsylvania passed a law prohibiting drivers from sending and receiving text messages, some state law enforcement officials say they are having a difficult time enforcing the traffic safety regulation. Throughout the state, law enforcement officers have issued 37 citations for violation of the law since it took effect. According to some officers, distinguishing between drivers who are sending text messages and drivers who are simply inputting a phone number in their handheld communication devices (Which the law allows) is difficult. Officers will often be required to wait until they see a vehicle violating a separate traffic regulation, such as driving toward the oncoming lane of traffic, crossing a double line, or weaving between lanes, before they can pull the driver over. Often before a patrol car can get close enough to verify a driver is texting, the driver’s vehicle will be stopped at an intersection, where sending a text message is not illegal. Officers are not allowed to check motorists’ phones to see if they have been sending text messages without first obtaining a search warrant. In most cases, a search warrant will only be sought in a situation where the allegedly distracted driver has been involved in a traffic collision.
As a car accident attorney in Bakersfield, I have seen the damage that dirvers can do when they let their attention stray from the road ahead. If you have been involved in an accident linked to distracted driving, please consider contacting a Bakersfield personal injury lawyer.