Forty-six states, Virginia among them, have laws against texting while driving, but distracted driving is no longer just about texting. Smartphones and new social media realities have drivers on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Instagram and Google Maps. Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality video game, may already have been the distraction behind at least one crash; a man hit allegedly hit a parked police cruiser while chasing Pokémon.
A recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions reported that 70 percent of teenage drivers admit to using apps while behind the wheel. In a separate study, the National Safety Council surveyed 2,400 drivers. Thirty-seven percent of the group, which included drivers of all ages, said they would use Twitter while driving; 74 percent said they would use Facebook.
According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than eight people die and more than 1,000 suffer injuries in crashes involving distracted drivers every day. The CEO and president of the National Safety Council said the numbers are probably higher, calling distracted driving an under-reported issue. She said data indicates that people are not talking on their phones while driving as much as they used to, but they are texting more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that looking away from the road to read a text message is equivalent to driving 120 yards without paying attention.
Individuals who have been injured in distracted driving crashes may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to help by gathering and examining evidence and negotiating with at-fault parties and their insurers. An attorney may be able to secure an agreeable settlement or file the necessary documents to bring an action for damages in civil court.