In the 1980s and 90s, there were a number of high-profile awareness campaigns that were aimed at lowering the number of people killed by drunk drivers. In today’s world, drinking and driving is still something we educate Virginia drivers about, but there is another danger that may not be as obvious but lurks in the proverbial shadows: distracted driving. According to federal estimates, more than 3,000 motorists and passengers are killed in distracted driving accidents in an average year in the United States. Tens of thousands more suffer non-fatal but serious injuries, including many here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
If you have been injured in a Virginia car crash involving a distracted driver, understanding what caused the accident may help you obtain compensation. Your first step should be getting the medical attention you need. Then, it is important to speak with a skilled Virginia distracted driving accident lawyer as soon as possible so that your rights and best interests are fully protected.
Common Types of Driving Distractions
When you think of a driving distraction, your mind likely jumps to a cell phone or other electronic device. While these are some of the most common distractions for drivers, there are many different types of distractions that a variety of things can cause. For example, things both inside and outside of the vehicle can pose as distractions.
There are three main types of distractions that a driver can encounter:
- Manual Distractions: A manual distraction causes you to take your hands off the steering wheel. In many cases, manual distractions can intersect with other types of distractions and include actions such as reaching for a dropped object or adjusting your mirrors or controls.
- Cognitive Distractions: A cognitive distraction causes you to think about something other than driving. Cognitive distractions can be very common and include things such as talking to other passengers in the vehicle, singing along to a song on the radio, being very upset emotionally, daydreaming, etc.
- Visual Distractions: A visual distraction causes you to take your eyes off the road. Visual distractions commonly arise from cell phone use, other passengers, things happening around you outside of the vehicle, or even looking at your GPS or navigation system.
Using a cell phone while driving is among the most dangerous behaviors you could engage in while driving. Not only does it take your eyes off of the road, but you are also typically holding your cell phone and distracted by whatever is on the screen. Using a cell phone while driving creates a perfect storm of manual, cognitive, and visual distractions that can easily cause a traffic accident.
Putting the Pieces Together
It is a violation of Virginia law for a driver to hold a cell phone or any other mobile electronic device while driving. The only exception to this law is in the event of a driver emergency. Texting while driving is a primary offense, which means that a driver can be pulled over if they are suspected of using a handheld mobile device behind the wheel.
Other types of distractions—while they are not illegal—are just as dangerous as cell phones, and they could leave the distracted liable for any injuries caused as a result. Unfortunately, however, proving that a driver was distracted by something other than a cell phone can be challenging. With this in mind, a qualified Virginia distracted driving lawyer can help reconstruct the crash and determine whether the driver who caused the crash was eating, drinking, or simply not paying enough attention to the road.
Discuss Your Case With a Virginia Car Accident Injury Attorney
Any type of car accident can cause injuries to the parties involved, but accidents involving distracted drivers are often particularly severe. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we are prepared to go through the facts of your case and help you pursue financial compensation for your losses. To schedule a free consultation with our skilled Virginia distracted driver car accident injury lawyers, call our office today at (833) 997-1774. We will advocate on your behalf in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your situation—just as we did in securing a $235,000 settlement for a Virginia client who was injured when another driver negligently failed to yield the right of way on a busy roadway.