The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recently marked Highway Safety Law Awareness Week, a week-long effort to educate the public about certain rules of the road that the average Pennsylvania driver may not be aware of. This year, four laws were highlighted, and knowing about them could change the outcome of an accident dispute in your favor. When you’ve been involved in an accident, a car accident lawyer will be able to explain any and all laws that pertain to your case in order to prosecute your case as effectively as possible. When you are dealing with powerful insurance companies who work hard to give you the lowest settlement possible, knowledge is power.
Those four hightlighted PA laws are described here in more detail.
Inoperable or Malfunctioning Signal Statute
The Inoperable or Malfunctioning Signal (Title 75, Section 3112(c)) is an important rule to be aware of when traffic signals are not working due to weather damage, accidents, or other disruptions. If you arrive at a traffic light that has no working lights at all, the law states that you must stop completely and treat the intersection as though it were a stop sign. It is not permissible for drivers on the main road to continue through the light as if it were green simply because they may feel that they have right of way. If you have been involved in a collision at a malfunctioning traffic light, your car accident lawyer will want to know the behavior of other driver or drivers involved — specifically, whether or not they observed this rule.
Another scenario addressed by this law applies when the driver of a car or motorcycle has a red light that operates on sensors and, for whatever reason, does not change to green after 4 minutes. This is often referred to as the “Ride on Red” law. At that point, it is permissible to, as above, treat the stop light as a stop sign and proceed through the intersection when it’s safe to do so.
Prohibiting Use of Hearing Impairment Devices StatuteThe Prohibiting Use of Hearing Impairment (Title 75, Section 3314) rule governs the way that automobile operators can cover their ears or use ear implants. The important content of this law prohibits the use of headphones or earbuds while driving, in either one or both ears. Blocking ambient sound reduces your awareness of things on the road that may interfere with your ability to drive safely. Your hearing may help you to identify obstructions such as road work crews and vehicles, and sirens may be your first signal that emergency vehicles are approaching and need you to move out of the way.
This law does not prohibit drivers from using hearing aids, which, of course, enhance the driving ability of those who require them. It is even permissible to use a Bluetooth headset, which frees up your hands while you’re talking on the phone, as long as it is used in one ear only.
If you’ve been involved in a collision, be sure to observe the other driver for any signs of violation of this law. They may be so disoriented — and indeed, unaware of this rule — that they didn’t bother to remove headphones or earbuds, which could certainly be implicated in the cause of the crash. Make sure to tell your car accident lawyer if you observe any headphones or earbuds on the person or in the vehicle of the other driver.
Blind Pedestrians Statute
The Blind Pedestrians (Title 75, Section 3549) traffic rule may seem obvious, but it’s not necessarily known generally by drivers — or even by the blind. The law states that any blind or partially blind pedestrian who is using a white cane or is accompanied by a guide dog essentially has complete right of way on the road. A driver must yield to the pedestrian and even stop his or her vehicle in order to allow the pedestrian to safely navigate the road at his or her own pace.
It is important for drivers to understand that this law applies anywhere that a blind pedestrian may be walking — not just in a crosswalk. Drivers should be aware of any road signs that may announce that a blind person resides in the area. Further, a blind pedestrian does not need to be carrying a white cane or have a guide dog in order for you to yield to them; you should give right of way to anyone in the road who appears to be visually impaired.
Unattended Motor Vehicle Statute
The Unattended Motor Vehicle Law (Title 75, Section 3701) is a little-known law stating a vehicle may not be left unattended by the driver or other responsible person while the engine is running. When a vehicle is unattended, the law says that the car must be placed in park and the engine disengaged. If the car is parked on a hill, the front wheels must be turned away from the road and the hand brake must be applied. In other words, a car must not be left unattended in a way that could endanger a pedestrian or other driver.
What this effectively means is that if another driver left his or her engine running in order to warm up the car or for any other reason and you were involved in a collision with that vehicle, the other driver/owner may be at fault. This law does not, of course, apply to a vehicle with the engine left running in a private driveway, but it does apply on public property.
Accomplished Car Accident Lawyers in Media, PA
There are dozens of new victims of negligent drivers on PA roads every day. If you are involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The other driver may have broken a law that you’re not aware of, and you may be due additional compensation because of their negligence.
Donaghue & Labrum has been fighting on behalf of car accident victims for more than 30 years. We know the law, and we know how to go toe to toe with the insurance companies. Don’t pay for another driver’s negligence. When you’ve been hurt in an accident, the attorneys of Donaghue & Labrum will argue your case in order to get justice for you and your loved ones. Call us or visit one of our convenient offices in Media and West Chester for a free consultation. Choose a car accident lawyer that will fight for you!