Arrests in Pa. for Distracted Driving Rose in 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The number of drivers cited for distracted driving – such as texting or wearing headphones while behind the wheel – rose 43% in the Keystone State in 2015 from 2014, the administrative office of the Pennsylvania court system reports.

Police in Lawrence County stopped and cited 16 drivers for distracted driving in 2015, up from 11 in 2014, while police in Mercer County arrested 15 last year, up from 12 the previous year. Butler County went from 12 citations in 2014 to 43 in 2015 to rank 21st among the 67 counties.

Statewide, the statistics show 2,857 were cited in 2015, up from 1,998 in 2014. The statistics are not broken down to show the number who pleaded guilty, were convicted or had the charge dismissed.

The penalty for those convicted is a $50 file plus court costs.

State police issued 40% of the citations for driving while texting, writing an email or wearing or using headphones or earphones; local police issued the other 60%. No data were available on how many were cited with another moving violation when police pulled a driver over, a spokeswoman said.

May, July and August were the months with the highest numbers of citations issued, January and February the lowest. Four of the five counties where the most tickets were issued are in the southeastern part of the state: Montgomery (Greater Philadelphia), was first at 289, followed by Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), 235, then York, Bucks and Chester.

Men were twice as likely to be cited as women, 67% to 31% with the other 2% not specified, statistics show.

Teens made up only 7% of those cited while those in their 20s constituted 40%. Those in their 30s made up 26%, in their 40s 15%, their 50s 7% and 2% were in their 60s. No age was provided for the remaining 3%.

Police made the greatest number of their arrests between 8 a.m. and noon on any given day, the report found.

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