Debating Distracted Driving in Lynchburg
Debating Distracted Driving
Cellphones consume our lives. We are constantly distracted by social media alerts, emails or texts. It’s such a personal device, yet the fight against distracted driving has become very public. State lawmakers have been forced to debate cellphone bans, hoping to discourage risky driving behaviors. While many states (except Montana and Missouri) have implemented texting bans for all drivers, hands-held bans have been harder to implement.
Virginia Makes a Move
On April 29, 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law that bans drivers in the state from using cellphones in highway work zones. Stricter bills did not make it to the governor’s desk during this legislative session, although the governor vows to revisit the topic in 2020.
Until then, here’s what you need to know:
• Law goes into effect July 1, 2019
• Applies to construction, maintenance areas on or beside a highway
• Violators face a mandatory fine of $250
Distracted Driving Makes An Impact
Whether small or large, distracted driving undoubtedly makes an impact on drivers. In 2017, the Virginia Highway Safety Office documented 1,587 cellphone-related crashes, which accounted for 6.1% of all distracted driving crashes in the state that year.
The following crash injuries (not serious) were recorded:
• Drivers: 706
• Passengers: 162
• Pedestrians: 11
When you look at distracted driving as a whole: not paying attention to the road, looking at roadside incidents, texting; the Virginia Highway Safety Office reported 26,123 crashes in 2017, which accounted for 20.5% of all traffic crashes in the state that year.
• Fatal crashes: 189
• Injury crashes: 9,284
• Property damage crashes: 16,650
Only time will tell if these traffic trends will go up, decrease or stabilize, but as more current data is calculated, one thing is clear: people are hurt everyday because of driver error, or driver negligence. At Trost Law Group, we’ve been helping auto accident victims with their personal injury claims for more than 30 years. Our attorneys are well versed in the claims process and will help you recover all the benefits you deserve.