One person suffered critical injuries in a head-on collision in Roanoke County, Virginia (VA), on the evening of July 30, 2017. Another person went to the hospital in serious condition, and two others required medical treatment after the two-vehicle crash on Catawba Valley Drive/VA 311.
The wreck happened at around 6:45 pm near the Catawba Valley Grocery Store, VA 311 is a two-lane road with narrow shoulders that winds past Dragon’s Tooth on Cove Mountain and runs parallel to a popular section of the Appalachian Trail. News reports do not specify the exact location of the collision.
County police investigators did tell reporters that they have ruled out speeding, impairment by drugs or alcohol, and bad weather as causes for the wreck. Those preliminary determinations leave driver distraction or fatigue as a likely explanation for why one or both vehicles crossed the double yellow line on Catawba Valley Drive.
Being tired after spending a day hiking through the mountains could lead a driver to lose focus and nod off. Doing either would increase the risk for driving left of center and setting the stage for a head-on collision.
In fact, taking one’s eyes and mind off the road for any reason greatly raises the danger for a crash that leaves people injured or dead. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,477 people across the United States during 2015. The agency also has this to say about why drivers become distracted:
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Police did not immediately assign fault for this crash in Roanoke County, and neither driver was charged. Learning which driver acted negligently or recklessly in causing the head-on collision will make it easier for the injured victims to file and settle insurance claims. A crash investigation can take a long time, and the findings can be inconclusive. Working with a dedicated Virginia personal injury lawyer will allow the people hurt on Catawba Valley Drive keep up to date on evidence and deal with insurance company representatives.