Oil City, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
(PennDOT), Northwest Regional Highway Safety Network, and the
Hermitage Police Department is urging motorists to be aware of the
dangers surrounding distracted driving, and learn more about
The law honors motorcyclist, Daniel Gallatin, an avid motorcyclist,
firefighter, and military veteran, was riding to his daughter’s home
when another driver stuck his motorcycle in May 2013. He died from
injuries suffered during the crash.
Unsatisfied with the sentence the driver received, Gallatin’s family
worked with Pennsylvania legislators to increase the penalties for
drivers who are texting when causing a serious crash. In November
2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed “Daniel’s Law”, named in honor of
Effective as of January 4, 2017, drivers who text and cause a fatality
will receive a five-year jail sentence, and drivers who cause bodily
injury while texting and driving will receive a two-year jail sentence.
Gallatin’s daughter, shares the story of how her father’s life due to
distracted driving, and his family continues to participate in
community outreach opportunities.
Gallatin-Baughman talked Friday with students at Hickory High School
about the dangers of distracted driving, including texting. During her
visit, students were invited to try out driving simulators that show the
possible consequences of distracted or impaired driving.
Distracted driving is defined as anything that causes a driver to take
their attention away from driving, eyes off the road, or hands off the
wheel. Other distractions include: eating, drinking, smoking, adjusting
the radio, searching for an object in the vehicle, personal grooming,
looking at things outside the vehicle, interacting with passengers,
using a cell phone or texting.
According PennDOT data, there were more than 14,800 crashes and
66 fatalities involving distracted driving in 2015.
Additionally, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that 40
percent of drivers, and 66 percent of drivers age 19 to 24, reported
reading a text message/email while driving within 30 days prior to a
survey they administered.
More than 31 percent of all drivers, including 59 percent of drivers 19
to 24, also admitted to typing or sending a text message or email
Even without a crash, Pennsylvania law prohibits using a wireless
device to send, read, or write a text-based communication while
driving. This includes texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing
the internet. It is a primary offense and carries a fine of $50 plus fees
and court costs.
For more information on the dangers of distracted driving, visit
www.penndot.gov/safety and click on Traffic Safety & Driver Topics.
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