July 21, 2011
Distracted driving caused 404 crashes, 172 injuries, and two deaths in Lynchburg, Virginia, last year, according to The News & Advance.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that in 2010 there were 5,396 distracted-driving-related crashes statewide, which injured 22,292 people and killed 281.
“Driving is a complex task,” said Lynchburg Officer Ronnie Sitler. “Anything you do—such as fiddling with the radio or the GPS or talking on your phone—is a distraction that can lead to a crash.”
Distracted driving in Virginia—and across the country—has become so pervasive that the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is now seeking out people willing to have cameras installed in their cars so that the effects of distractions can be observed.
A previous Virginia Tech study, which looked specifically at distracted driving amongst commercial truckers and bus drivers, found that drivers who are texting behind the wheel take their eyes off the road for 4.6 out of every 6 seconds while texting.
“In my opinion, almost all accidents are caused by some sort of distraction,” said Lynchburg Officer J.W. Blankenship. “If you are paying attention and following the law, you wouldn’t have a crash. People I write speeding tickets to, many say, ‘I wasn’t paying attention.’ If you weren’t paying attention, then what were you doing?”
What do you think should be done to deter distracted driving in Virginia?