Distracted-driving citations issued to Pennsylvania drivers climbed more than 50 percent last year – and more than 170 percent over the past five years, according to data recently released by Pa Courts InfoShare.
Lancaster County’s 590 distracted-driving citations since 2013 account for about 4 percent of all such citations issued by police in Pennsylvania.
More than 15,000 distracted driving citations have been issued statewide since 2013.
Under state law, drivers are prohibited from text-messaging and emailing while driving – to include reading, writing or sending such messages. Wearing or using headphones while driving also is prohibited.
In Lancaster County, the number of citations more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, when 244 tickets were issued.
Lancaster’s five-year total ranks ninth-highest among Pennsylvania counties.
Montgomery County tops the list with 1,695 total citations.
When reviewing the numbers, it should be noted that the law can be difficult to enforce and successfully prosecute, considering hand-held devices are not always visible to police.
“Even though police in Lancaster County issued these tickets twice as often last year as the year before, drivers continue to access their phones while behind the wheel,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said. “It is commonplace and is very dangerous. Just watch traffic pass and you will see so many drivers have their eyes on their phones.”
Of all Pennsylvania offenders, 37 percent were in their 20’s; sixty-five percent were ages 20 to 39. Nearly 70 percent were males, according to the InfoShare data.
Also, most citations are issued during morning hours.
There is pending legislation regarding distracted-driving laws.
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