Distracted driving in Virginia was the cause of 26,123 crashes in the state last year, according to new figures, meaning about one in every five crashes is caused by a driver looking at a smartphone or another type of distraction. The statistic provides a sobering reminder at the start of the National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month of the scale of the challenge ahead. The National Safety Council warns as many as 40,000 people lose their lives every year on the roads of America due to the actions of distracted drivers.
The 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report published by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office reveals there were 127,375 crashes in Virginia last year. Distracted driving caused even more crashes than excess speed, a factor linked to 23,948 wrecks. Although the number of distracted driving crashes is a major cause for concern in Virginia, the 2017 figure was a 2.5 percent decrease from the 2016 figure. A new study by AAA reveals distracted driving rather than drunk, drugged or aggressive drivers is now the biggest cause of concern for motorists. Last year in Virginia, far more distracted than drunk drivers caused wrecks. The state says 7,285 wrecks were caused by intoxicated drivers.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns distracted driving has reached the top of the list of growing dangers on local roadways, surpassing aggressive or drunk and drugged drivers. In the study, 88 percent of drivers claimed distracted driving is increasing, a 30 percent rise in a five year period. The report was released as local law enforcement agencies across the country pledged to ramp up distracted driving enforcement operations in April, which is designated “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”
America has seen a spike in road deaths in recent years. Distracted driving and an increase in vehicles on the roads are fueling the rise. As many as one in every four accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many states are adopting tougher distracted driving laws to ban hand-held devices. However, a Virginia State Hands-Free Driving bill failed to pass the House last month. Drivers will still be permitted to hold their phones and handheld devices such as GPS devices at the wheel.
Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax County, warned injuries and deaths due to drivers checking their phones at the wheel were occurring on a daily basis in the Commonwealth. His bill sought to make it an offense to use a hand-held device when it took the driver’s attention off the road.
Texting and driving remains illegal in Virginia. Every year lives are lost and people are injured in Virginia Beach and elsewhere in Hampton Roads when drivers look at their phones or engage in other forms of distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a wreck of this nature, you should speak to a Virginia Beach Injury Lawyer now, please call us at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers to review your legal matter (757) 455-0077. We are available to take your call 24/7/365 and offer a free consultation.