The Virginia State Crime Commission endorsed legislation on December 5, 2012, to escalate existing penalties for cell-phone use while driving. Currently, it is only a civil offense, but the commission wants to make it punishable as reckless driving. (Texting and driving is prohibited by 39 states plus DC).
Distracted driving is a big problem . . . and it grows bigger by the day as more and more drivers on the road have access to cell-phone and smart phone gadgets in the car. In 2010, 3,092 people died as a result of cell-phone related car accidents. An additional 416,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving.
Did you know that reading a text while driving takes on average 5 seconds? At 60 mph, that is over 450 feet. That means, at 60 mph, a car will travel over the length of a football while the driver’s eyes aren’t on the road. That is dangerous.
Sure, a driver can get away with this kind of reckless activity occasionally. But the odds are stacked against the driver who texts and drives. When texting, you are 23 times more likely to be in an auto accident. Is that text really worth it?
Here are some distracted driving statistics:
- In 2011, 23% of auto accidents involved a cell phone . . . that’s 1.3 million crashes.
- 5 seconds of diverted attention at 55mph is approximately the length of a football field.
- Texting makes car accidents 23 times more likely.
- Dialing makes car accidents 2.8 times more likely.
- Talking on a cellphone makes car accidents 1.3 times more likely.
- According to the Virginia State Transportation Department, there were 63 car accident deaths in the first 10 months of the year relating to texting and driving.
The proposed law would make cellphone use for anything other than a call while driving a Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by as much as a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The current penalty is a $20 fine.
The new law would apply not only to texting and driving, but it also would apply to other types of cellphone related distractions such as playing games, reading e-mails and any other use besides making a phone call. (Using a cell-phone to talk will still be permissible under the proposed law).
Don’t text and drive.
We wish you and yours a safe Holiday Season in the Petersburg / Richmond metro community.
Cuthbert Law Offices, Lawyers Specializing in Auto Accidents and Injuries and Social Security Disability.