Across the country, most motorists are likely aware of the serious dangers posed by driving while distracted by something else, particularly electronic gadgets such as cellphones. Despite the widespread knowledge regarding the risks associated with distracted driving, however, many people continue to participate in such behaviors.
In some cases, people may believe their driving skills are good enough to avoid the risks and in others, people may respond to a ringing cellphone simply out of habit. Regardless of the reason, individuals who choose to drive while distracted create a hazard for all other motorists on the road and increase the likelihood that a motor vehicle accident will ensue.
In response to the number of people injured and killed in the United States due to distracted driving accidents each year, many states have adopted laws meant to curb such behavior. Virginia is no exception. Recently, the state's ban on texting while behind the wheel became a primary offense, meaning law enforcement officers may now stop a motorist solely for violating the texting ban.
Since the texting prohibition became a primary law in July 2013, the Virginia State Police has focused on stopping those who continue to text while behind the wheel. According to the law enforcement agency, over 325 motorists were given citations for violating the texting ban during the first three months that the primary law was in effect.
Despite the stricter law, distracted driving continues to be a serious concern on Virginia's roadways. According to a non-profit organization - Drive Smart Virginia - distracted driving leads to eight out of every 10 motor vehicle accidents in the state each year.
Avoid severe auto accidents caused by distracted drivers
While all motorists in Virginia are prohibited from texting while behind the wheel, certain other groups face restrictions that are more serious. In Virginia, novice drivers and school bus drivers are not allowed to use a cellphone of any type while behind the wheel. These groups are prohibited from not only using handheld cellphones, but also those that allow an individual to communicate hands-free.
Across the country, 3,328 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2012, while another 421,000 suffered from injuries caused by such crashes. By enacting stricter laws, such as the primary texting ban in Virginia, many are hopeful that these statistics will begin to decrease.
When someone sustains injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was the result of a distracted driver, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation to account for the harm caused. In such cases, the injured party would be wise to seek the counsel of a qualified personal injury attorney to make certain that their rights are protected.