Craig P. Tiller, Esq. PLLC

Distracted driving in Virginia

Most Virginia drivers know that there is a risk when they talk on their phone or text while driving; however, some continue to engage in these risky behaviors anyway. What they should know is that, in 2012, approximately 3,300 people lost their lives and 421,000 suffered injuries in accidents that involved at least one distracted driver.

The problem with drivers being distracted by cell phones is widespread. In a 2011 distracted driving study conducted by the CDC, 69 percent of drivers who were between the ages of 18 and 64 self-reported that they had talked on their cell phone within 30 days of the survey. Thirty-one percent of drivers between the same ages reported that they had either sent or read either text messages or emails within 30 days of being surveyed. The study made it clear that, while many know the risks, the danger is often ignored.

Using a cell phone while operating a vehicle is dangerous because this requires the driver to take both their eyes and their focus off the road. In order to combat this, some states, including Virginia, are enforcing distracted driving laws in order to reduce the risk of accidents. In Virginia, it is against the law for drivers to read or send texts are emails. The only exception to this rule is if there is a highway emergency that needs to be reported.

If a driver causes an accident that results in an injury because they were distracted by a cell phone, the injured person may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against that driver or their insurance company. If the distracted driver was completely at fault for the crash, the injured person may potentially recover the cost of damages associated with the wreck, including medical bills and lost wages.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving", December 07, 2014

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