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Distracted driving remains a serious problem

Distracted driving continues to be a problem on our roadways, including in Virginia. The use of mobile devices, and texting and driving, has led to an increase in distracted driving which has been associated with serious dangers. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, distracted driving caused 18 percent of fatal car accidents which resulted in 3,328 deaths and 421,000 injuries. Research out of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging increases the risk of a car accident by 23 times over when a driver is not distracted.

Texting and driving laws are in place to try to help lower the incidence of distracted driving. Virginia has placed a ban on texting while driving for all drivers. In addition, legal resources are available to victims of distracted driving-related accidents and their families. If the driver has received a citation, it may be evidence of negligence and important for the victim. Victims and their families may be able to recover damages for the costs and harm associated with a distracted driving accident through personal injury and wrongful death options, depending on the circumstances.

Victims may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, future medical care if required, lost wages, lost-earning capacity and pain and suffering damages. Family members of loved ones lost in a distracted driving-related accident may be able to recover medical and funeral expenses, as well as damages for loss of support and services, pain and suffering damages and lost prospect of inheritance. Damages that may be available are largely dependent on the circumstances but holding negligent drivers responsible for the harm they have caused is important.

We all have a duty to keep our roadways safe and exercise reasonable care for the safety of others. When a distracted driver has carelessly harmed victims and their loved ones, it is important that victims are familiar with legal resources available to help.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving," Accessed July 26, 2016

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