Distracted driving is a serious road hazard in Richmond and across Virginia. In fact, Drive Smart Virginia reports that eight out of 10 traffic crashes in the state are related to distracted driving. Nationally, more than 3,000 people are killed and 400,000 more are injured in distracted driving accidents every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates.
Cell phone use – talking, texting or for using social media networks like Facebook and Twitter – is not only the most common type of distracted driving but also the most dangerous. However, any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the road ahead is considered a distraction.
Engaging in distracted driving on purpose is careless behavior. It puts drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and others in danger. When anyone is harmed in a distracted driving accident, the negligent driver should be held liable.
For more than 20 years, the personal injury attorneys of Geoff McDonald & Associates have been standing up for Virginia residents injured in car accidents, including distracted driving crashes. If you have been harmed by another drivers’ negligence, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates today.
How Widespread is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity, according to the NHTSA.
In its most recent annual data, the NHTSA found that cell phones accounted for 13 percent of fatal crashes involving distracted drivers. Most drivers using cell phones in fatal crashes were in the 20 to 29 age group (34 percent) or the 30 to 39 age group (22 percent), the NHTSA found.
After the Virginia General Assembly made texting-while driving illegal for all drivers in July 2013, some 725 drivers were convicted of breaking the law over the next six months, according to the VA Department of Motor Vehicles.
Though discussions of distracted driving usually focus on cell phone use and texting, distracted driving also includes such activities as:
- Talking to passengers
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio, CD or MP3 player, climate controls or a GPS unit
- Soothing or playing with pets
- Watching videos.
We Seek to Hold Distracted Drivers Accountable
If you have been injured in a car accident that you believe was caused by a distracted driver, it will be important to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A distracted driver can be held liable for the harm his or her negligence has caused.
Evidence gathered soon after a car accident, such as cell phone or social media records or witness statements, can show that a driver was acting with negligence behind the wheel.
A legal claim against a distracted driver can help you recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Income lost during recovery
- Pain and suffering.
If distracted driving has caused a death, a wrongful death lawsuit may seek damages that include:
- Loss of your loved one’s society, companionship and comfort
- Loss of your loved one’s income and services they would have provided
- Your loved one’s medical expenses prior to death
- Funeral expenses.
Punitive damages may also be sought in cases where a distracted driver shows “a conscious disregard for the safety of others.”
Contact a Richmond Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Geoff McDonald & Associates can help you determine the full extent of your losses after a car accident and fight aggressively for you. We are serious about investigating accidents caused by distracted drivers and holding negligent drivers accountable for the harm they cause.