Lawrence County man’s death inspires strict texting-and-driving law

Texting while driving can now lead to some serious jail time

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WYTV) – Texting while driving in Pennsylvania can now lead to some serious jail time.

The new law is all because of the death of a man from Lawrence County.

Friday in New Castle, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed “Daniel’s Law.” It’s named after Daniel Gallatin, a military veteran and firefighter from Lawrence County.

Gallatin was riding his motorcycle when he was hit and killed by a woman who was texting while driving. That woman ultimately served only 60 days in jail.

“Never in a million years did I think my dad’s life would be taken in my front yard,” said Gallatin’s daughter, Michelle Baughman.

Baughman was in attendance at the law-signing ceremony, along with State Rep. Jaret Gibbons, who pushed the legislation.

“Since I first heard the story of Daniel Gallatin, I’ve been working with Daniel’s family, advocates such as ABATE of Pa. and fellow legislators to do what was necessary to get this bill passed,” Gibbons said. “We had an obligation to send a message that distracted driving is unacceptable, and I believe this new law does that.”

With Daniel’s Law now in effect, the punishments for hitting someone while texting are more severe. A driver who kills someone while texting could get an additional five-year sentence, and a driver who seriously hurts someone while texting could get another two years of jail time.

“Distracted driving has fatal, irreversible and grave consequences,” Gov. Wolf said.