Imagine being involved in an accident. Just before you got into the crash, you noticed that the driver didn’t even look up. She was looking down, and you believe it was because she was checking her text messages. Later, you find out that she was sending texts, and that’s the entire reason that you’re suffering from injuries.

Distracted drivers are nothing new, and in Pennsylvania, the problem has gotten out of hand. Over 14,800 crashes were caused by drivers who were distracted by their cellphones alone, according to data from 2015. Those crashes resulted in 66 deaths that could have been prevented, states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Distracted driving has the potential to lead to life-changing and fatal accidents, which is why it’s important to put an end to them as soon as possible. As a result of the dangers of texting while driving in particular, the Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill into law that will heavily penalize those who text behind the wheel within the state’s borders. The law will allow the courts to penalize distracted drivers with up to five years in prison if the collision was caused by texting or cellphone use and resulted in another person’s death.

If the crash didn’t result in death, that doesn’t mean the driver will get away without a penalty. He or she could still face up to two years in prison for causing someone else’s injuries. Before this change, the highest fine possible for violating texting laws was $50.

If you’ve been in a crash, the criminal case can help you seek compensation from the other party as well. Knowing that he or she is guilty of negligence may help you get a higher settlement. Our website has more on this important topic.