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A look at the dangers of distracted driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous phenomenon on roads and highways throughout the country. It is a risky activity that not only put a motorist's life in danger but also risks the lives of other travelers on the roadway. It causes a driver to take their mind off the primary task of driving and is the cause of numerous accidents in Virginia and other states across the nation each year.

During 2014, distracted driving resulted in the deaths of 3,179 victims and injuries to 431,000 other victims. Distracted driving includes cell phone use while driving, texting and driving and a host of other activities that remove the driver's attention from the roadway. Distracted driving can be a danger to drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other bystanders sharing the roadways.

Distracted driving behaviors fall into three primary categories including visual, manual and cognitive distraction. While all distracted driving behaviors are considered dangerous, texting and driving is considered particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction, including visual, manual and cognitive behaviors into one dangerous distracted driving behavior.

Specific driver distractions include texting while driving; utilizing a cell phone or smart phone while driving to surf the Internet or check email; eating and drinking while driving; grooming while driving; talking with passengers while driving; reading while driving, including reading maps while driving; using a navigation system while driving; watching videos while driving; and adjusting the radio, CD or MP3 player while driving. Victims of distracted driving can suffer a variety of physical, financial and emotional damages as a result of a distracted driving accident.

The legal process helps hold negligent drivers who harm others in a distracted driving accident responsible for their careless and dangerous behavior. A personal injury claim for damages can help victims recover compensation they need for the physical, financial and emotional damages suffered in a distracted driving-related car accident such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Distracted Driving," Accessed March 27, 2017

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