This year, a number of bills were introduced by Virginia legislators that were aimed at cutting down on the number of distracted driving accidents occurring across the state. As many as 175 people lost their lives in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving last year alone and over 14,700 sustained injuries. Distractions are usually categorized as being either visual, manual, or cognitive in nature, and in many cases, activities actually fall under all three categories. Fortunately, those who are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers can collect compensation for their losses by filing a personal injury claim in court, so if you were recently involved in a car crash, it is important to speak with a Richmond car accident lawyer who can explain your legal options.
What Qualifies as a Distraction?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the following three types of distractions:
- Manual distractions, which require a driver to take his or her hands off of the wheel;
- Visual distractions, which require a driver to take his or her eyes off of the road; and
- Cognitive distractions, which involve activities that take a person’s attention off of driving.
While some activities only fall under one or two categories, more and more are falling under all three, with texting being one of the most common forms of driver distraction. Texting has proven especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions by occupying a person’s hands, mind, and eyes. One Virginia Tech study even found that texting while driving makes it 2,300 times more likely that a person will be involved in a crash. Other distracting activities that regularly cause accidents include:
- Using a cell phone to post on social media, respond to messages, or check emails;
- Adjusting hair or doing make-up;
- Attending to children in the backseat;
- Eating and drinking; and
- Adjusting in-vehicle technologies.
While these activities regularly cause accidents, almost any activity can satisfy the criteria of a distraction if it makes it difficult for the driver to focus.
Accidents caused by distracted driving are known for having especially devastating consequences for crash victims. This is largely due to the fact that distracted drivers are usually unaware of an impending crash until it is too late to react or slow down. Some of the injuries most commonly suffered by victims include:
- Broken bones;
- Head trauma;
- Cuts and bruises; and
- Spinal cord damage.
Many injuries suffered by car crash victims leave them permanently disabled or forced to struggle with chronic pain. Even relatively minor injuries, such as concussions, can leave injured parties suffering from headaches, insomnia, mood swings, and confusion, all of which can make it difficult, if not impossible to fulfill job-related duties or even to complete day to day activities. This makes it especially important for car accident victims to collect compensation to help cover medical expenses and lost wages.
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