Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

2 Pennsylvania teens die, 5 injured in fatal Poconos crash

Distracted driving didn't begin with the introduction of cellphones in Allegheny County. Multi-tasking while driving was common before phones in vehicles became commonplace. Listening to music, eating, fiddling with dashboard controls, grooming and engaging in conversations with passengers also cause drivers' attention to wander.

Cellphones raised driver distraction to a new level, so much so that several states banned or limited drivers' cellphone use. In Pennsylvania, drivers are free to talk on cellphones but are prohibited from texting, messaging or emailing while a vehicle is moving.

Police in the Poconos did not say whether distraction contributed to a recent, late night accident that claimed the lives of two teens. A Chevrolet Impala, in which the 15- and 16-year-old male passengers were riding, drifted across the center line of a Northeastern Pennsylvania road and struck another vehicle.

The younger victim died at the scene of the fatal accident. The other teen's injuries led to the boy's death two days later. Five others were injured, including the occupants of both vehicles.

A third teen, an 18-year-old back seat passenger, was hospitalized in serious condition. Authorities said three other victims had moderate injuries including a 5-year-old Impala passenger and a married couple in their 40s, who were in the second vehicle. The 26-year-old Chevy driver was treated for minor injuries.

Reports did not say whether authorities plan to file charges.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website reported about 421,000 traffic injuries and more than 3,300 deaths due to distracted driving in 2012. The number of fatal car accident victims fell slightly from 2011, but injuries increased by nine percent.

Compensation is available for distracted driving accident victims injuries and wrongful deaths through liability lawsuits. Settlements and damages may lighten the burden of medical costs, including anticipated treatment for crash injuries like future surgeries. Civil courts also take into account victims' physical and emotional suffering.

Poconio Record, "Teen dies days after crash on Route 196" No author given, Dec. 25, 2013

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