There are probably many parents in Virginia who are wondering how they can help their teenage children improve their driving skills. Or perhaps one of their teens has been referred to a driver's risk education program by a court or school administrator. They will want to know about a Baylor University study that considers one such program in Texas; the results have a wide-ranging application.
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.
Many Virginia drivers know of specific intersections that are frequently the site of serious traffic accidents, especially in some of the more rural areas of the state. Because they receive lower traffic density than urban areas, some rural intersections may be marked by only a stop sign. At the same time, however, they may have high speed limits with cars legally traveling at up to 55 mph. This means that despite the low traffic density, when an accident does happen, it can be severe or even deadly. The problem is exacerbated at night, in bad weather or when visibility is obstructed due to bushes, trees and vegetation.
Independence Day is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to fatal car accidents, according to both Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They also claim that 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk drivers between June 30 and July 4. This five-day period sees about 200 traffic deaths every year. Drivers in Virginia will want to be extra careful, then, if they plan on traveling during the holiday.
Individuals who are involved in car accidents in Virginia should keep a few things in mind. First, there is an obligation that the parties involved in a car accident stop at the scene. This is true even if the parties believe the accident didn't cause any damage. Regardless of the circumstances, a person who is in a car accident should not admit responsibility for the crash at the scene. Car insurance contracts often contain clauses prohibiting the insured from admitting liability or responsibility at this point.
Car accidents have led to serious and catastrophic injuries for far too many people in Virginia, which is a major reason for the appeal of automated vehicle technologies. However, some high-profile accidents and mishaps involving self-driving cars and other automated technologies have raised concerns about the safety of the vehicles. In particular, questions have been raised about susceptibility to hacking and other interference as well as mechanical errors and software bugs.
The growing rate of roadway deaths due to motor vehicle accidents is a major issue both for everyday drivers and state officials in Virginia. In response to this public concern, the National Governors Association issued a report that seeks to provide guidance and best practices. The idea is to encourage governors to take statewide action that will help reduce the risk of injuries and deaths caused by car accidents.
In Virginia and the rest of the U.S., drowsy driving is a common factor in accidents. Government statistics show that 1 to 2 percent of all accidents involve drowsy driving, but the number may actually be higher since there is no way for officers to measure drowsiness and no way for some drivers themselves to recognize that they're drowsy.
Virginia motorists know they shouldn't text and drive or use hand-held cell phones when they are behind the wheel. Not paying attention to the road has been proven to cause car accidents. An increase in their auto insurance premiums could just be the incentive for them to avoid distracted driving.
Virginia has not been immune to the rising death rate on the nation's roads. Federal regulators and safety advocates have speculated that smartphone use and higher volumes of traffic are reducing safety, but a study from the National Transportation Safety Board points the finger of blame at speeding.