Pennsylvania Enacts “Daniel’s Law” – Enhanced Penalties For Distracted Driving

In November of 2016, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Legislative Assembly took significant action to improve Pennsylvania road safety by enacting House Bill 2025, also known as “Daniel’s Law,” to reduce auto accidents caused by distracted driving. Daniel’s Law increases Pennsylvania’s criminal penalties for texting while driving.

Pennsylvania Enacts "Daniel's Law" - Enhanced Penalties For Distracted DrivingThe law was named for Daniel Gallatin, a volunteer firefighter and military veteran who was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident caused by a distracted driver in 2013. The 68-year-old Gallatin, a resident of Harlansburg, was riding his motorcycle along Route 956 in Hickory Township located in Lawrence County when he was killed by a distracted driver. The accident occurred when a driver of an SUV, distracted by text messages, failed to slow down when Galatin started to make a right turn. Galatin was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident after the SUV pinned him underneath and dragged him for almost 100 feet.

“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,” said Governor Wolf. “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.” The underlying bill, HB 583, was authored by then Pennsylvania Representative Jaret Gibbons (D-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence) after Gallatin was killed in his district.

Daniel’s Law adds the following section to Pennsylvania’s vehicular homicide statute under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3732(b)(1.1):

“In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person convicted of [vehicular homicide] as the result of a violation of [Pennsylvania’s statute against texting while driving]… who is [also] convicted of [texting while driving]… may be sentenced to an additional term not to exceed five years’ confinement when the violation resulted in death.”

Pennsylvania motorists must now be aware that texting while driving may add up to five years to a prison sentence for vehicular homicide if a person is killed as a result of negligence caused by texting.

Determining compensation for damages resulting from a car accident may be a long and complicated matter. Our attorneys, past and present, have helped victims recover for injuries for 110 years. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident, contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

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