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Texting and driving is illegal in Virginia, but hard to stop

While in Virginia it's well-known that texting and driving is a dangerous activity that can lead to a car accident and injuries, people still choose to do it under the impression that a sending or reading just one text will not cause them to crash. Often, there's a misplaced belief in certain drivers that as long as they're driving below a certain speed, wearing their safety belts and taking quick glances at the road, there's no harm in sending a quick message to a friend. There, however, is potential harm in this practice and it is now illegal under state law.

The state crackdown on texting and driving is a legitimate attempt to reduce the number of people who do it and punish those who are caught. A study from Virginia Tech shows that texting and driving multiplies the chances of being in a car accident by 23. Law enforcement is allowed to pull a vehicle over if a driver is seen holding a cellphone. With the number of accidents linked to this activity surpassing 100,000, it's an understandable stance to try and put a stop to it.

Since the law is limited in its power to prevent texting and driving and a distracted driver is far more likely to cause an accident than one who is paying attention to the road, it's unavoidable that there will be accidents with injuries or fatalities. Officers are hampered by the illegality of texting, but the legality of dialing and using GPS services while driving. It's hard to enforce a law that has such ambiguous provisions. When a person or a loved one is hurt in a car crash, it can alter numerous lives. There might be massive medical bills, the need for rehabilitation and long-term care. These consequences explain the state's attempts to curtail it.

While education and the threat of a ticket are designed to prevent the practice, there will still be inevitable incidents of people ignoring the law who are willing to pay the resulting fine. Teenagers are a common source of these types of accidents. In fact, it's been shown that texting and driving causes more teen deaths than DWI. Preventing the practice is hard. Those who are injured in a crash due to this dangerous act have a right to seek compensation through litigation. In order to receive compensation, speaking to a qualified legal professional is the first step.

Source: ABC 7, "Texting while driving law hard to enforce in Virginia," Hatzel Vela, accessed on Sept. 8, 2014

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