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Rick Shapiro
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Despite New Law, Many Drivers Continue to Put Their Lives at Risk and Text and Drive

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Eight in 10 crashes in Virginia occur because of distracted driving, many of those involve a cell phone, according to DriveSmartVA.org.

In Virginia, there is a law banning texting while driving. Since its passage, an estimated 328 motorists have been cited.

The new law makes texting while driving a primary offense. Violators face a $125 fine for the first offense. And subsequent offenders will be expected to pay $250.

There is a loophole to the texting-while-driving law: if using your phone as a GPS, you are not violating the law. And, you are allowed to text if you are stopped or if you are reporting an accident or emergency.

Texting While Driving & Distracted Driving Stats

Texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times greater than average, according to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sending and receiving a text message takes the driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.

Distracted driving involves any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the road, including texting while driving, which has become increasing more common and contributed to far too many car crashes. But it also includes such things as applying makeup while driving, changing the radio station or even using the GPS system while operating the vehicle – all of which serve as a distraction to the driver.

The laws on distracted driving and texting while driving vary from state to state with more and more states getting involved. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), has more information so that you can find out what the laws are in your state. In fact, GHSA recently completed a survey of what state highway safety officials are doing to address drivers’ use of technology behind the wheel. The report is titled, “2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States.”

EndDD is an organization sponsored by the Casey Feldman Foundation and is proactive in their education and advocacy against distracted driving. It was founded by Joel Feldman after his daughter was struck by a distracted driver in July 2009 and died several hours later. They are dedicated to raising the public’s awareness. With so many states banning texting while driving and with so many sobering statistics available, one has to wonder why drivers continue to put their life at risk as well as other drivers occupying the same road.

There is no excuse for texting while driving. There is no message that cannot wait until you have a safe moment.

About Our Firm: We have offices in Virginia Beach, Hampton, and Norfolk, VA along with an office in Elizabeth City, NC. Our team of personal injury attorneys publish and edit articles on three Legal Examiner sites as a pro bono service to the general public.