Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law
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Avoiding behind the wheel distractions

Distracted driving claimed almost 3,500 lives around the country in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but many road safety advocates say that government accident statistics greatly underrepresent the problem and the true death toll is actually much higher. The recent surge in distracted driving accidents and deaths is often blamed on cellphone use, but eating, talking to passengers, adjusting entertainment systems and lighting a cigarette can be just as dangerous for Virginia motorists and their passengers.

Glancing away from the road ahead for just a few moments can be deadly as cars moving at highway speeds cover about 100 yards every five seconds. Downloading applications that disable smartphone features while vehicles are in motion can prevent both potentially deadly car accidents and tickets for violating laws banning the use of electronic devices while behind the wheel. Drivers should also program their navigation systems before setting off or after pulling over.

Holding a conversation and thinking of what to say next can be extremely distracting, which is why experts say that drivers should avoid using even hands-free phones that are permitted under state law. They also caution drivers not to program entertainment systems while moving as using voice commands can be a dangerous distraction.

Experts say that distracted driving statistics are misleading because motorists who cause catastrophic accidents are rarely eager to admit that they were doing something other than watching the road ahead when they crashed. This is also why establishing liability can be challenging in car accident lawsuits involving suspected distracted drivers. Experienced personal injury attorneys may look for evidence of distraction by having the vehicles involved in an accident inspected and checking the wireless service records of the drivers involved. Automobile black boxes could reveal that no evasive action was taken before a crash, and cellphone call histories and internet activity logs could establish that motorists were on the phone or online at the time.

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