Virginia Texting & Cell Phone Accidents

While all driving distractions lead to improperly placed attention, cell phone use is one of the most dangerous driver behaviors. Basic driving distractions can be categorized in three ways:

  • Visual – the eyes are off the roadway
  • Cognitive – the mind is focused on a task other than driving
  • Manual – the hands are removed from the steering wheel

Because locating a cell phone in the car, dialing, and texting require a combination of these three types of distraction, hand-held phones and similar technologies have been estimated to increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents occurrence by three times.

Distracted drivers are estimated to cause nearly one-fifth of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States, resulting in more than 1,000 injuries and nine deaths every day, based on national averages. Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also estimate that more than one in 10 distracted-driving crashes involves the use of cell phones by at least one of the drivers involved.

Cell phone distractions are completely preventable, which is why cell phone use and texting while driving have become highly targeted aspects of traffic law reform in recent years, Virginia being no exception. Speaking with a Virginia car accident lawyer will provide more information as to how someone can deal with the repercussions of being involved in an accident where one party was using their cell phone.

Young Drivers and Risky Driving Behaviors

Drivers who text while operating a motor vehicle have been statistically shown to have an increased probability of participating in other risky roadway behaviors as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) performed a study on information provided by the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey and found that nearly half of all high-school drivers over the age of 15 make the choice to text or e-mail while operating an automobile.

Through additional study of the survey statistics, the CDC has found that students who text while driving show a much higher propensity to drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking than those who make the conscious choice not to text and drive.

Drivers under the age of 20 have a higher likelihood of being involved in a fatal distracted-driver accident than any other age group. Whether this is due to inexperience or a failure to fully comprehend the dangers of driving distractions, young drivers are highly susceptible to cell phone distractions and the risks with which they are associated.

The Dangers of Cell Phone Distractions

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has conducted a great deal of research to determine the causes, effects, and repercussions of various driving distractions. Cell phone use receives a great deal of specialized focus in such studies, because of its devastating impact and overall preventability. The findings of these and similar studies report some surprising facts and statistics.

  • Whether composing an outgoing text or reading an incoming text, on average texting diverts the driver’s visual focus from the roadway for an average of 4.6 seconds. During this time, a driver travelling at 55 miles per hour could travel the length of a football field.  Someone driving at that speed while blindfolded is taking the same basic risk one takes when making the choice to text while driving.
  • Texting, dialing, and browsing on the phone result in the longest durations of driver visual distraction.
  • While hands-free cell phone use is often assumed to be less risky, these devices still require some level of cognitive, manual, or visual distraction, thus still increasing the likelihood of a car accident.
  • Thirty-one percent of survey participants, who included U.S. drivers ages 18 through 64, claimed that they had either read or composed a text message while driving at least once in the month prior to the study.
  • Sixty-nine percent of survey participants, who included U.S. drivers ages 18 through 64, claimed that they had spoken on a cell phone while driving at least once in the month prior to the study.

Because cell phones provide the convenience of staying in touch at any moment, ignoring notifications while driving is hard for many people to do. Taking the time to understand the gravity of the real-life risks associated with cell phone use is key to making roadway safety a priority over cell phone communication.

Distracted-Driver Accident Attorneys in Virginia

Many motor vehicle accidents occur because of preventable driver distractions, and far too many of those involve the unnecessary use of cell phones while driving. When a driver chooses to make or answer a phone call or to send or read a text message, he or she imposes a great deal of risk on the vehicle’s occupants and on others on the roadway.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver in Virginia, an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you fight for financial compensation. To find out more about your right to recover damages, call a Virginia car accident lawyer from Price Benowitz today to schedule a free case evaluation and consultation.