Fatal car accidents at the hands of distracted drivers are becoming more frequent across the country, including in West Virginia. Car accident statistics show 5,474 people involved in fatal car accidents during 2009 were killed as a result of driver distraction, and another 448,000 were injured. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 16% of fatal car accidents and 20% of injury crashes were related to distracted driving in 2009.
Types of Distracted Driving
The definition of distracted driving is when a person who is in command of a car diverts his or her attention to another activity. Typical diversions include:
- talking to other passengers;
- adjusting an MP3 player, CD player, or radio;
- using a navigation system;
- reading, including maps;
- watching videos;
- using cell phones or smartphones; and
Cell Phones and Fatal Car Accidents
Fatal car accidents involving drivers distracted by cell phone use were highest among 30- to 39-year-olds with a reported 24% linked to fatal crashes. The next age group accounting for fatal crashes related to cell phone distraction was the under-20 age group, which was responsible for 22% of distracted drivers. The NHTSA warns the most alarming distraction is text messaging because it requires drivers to move their attention away from the primary task of driving and divert their visual, manual, and cognitive attention to texting.
West Virginia Takes Action
West Virginia legislators have taken notice of these frightening trends and have chosen to attempt to eliminate further fatal car accidents related to phone use. Beginning in July 2012, the state will start enforcing a ban on the use of all handheld devices by drivers along with a ban on texting for all drivers. With these laws set to go into effect, West Virginians can expect more drivers to keep their cell phones in their proper place and their attention on the road.
Learn More from an Experienced West Virginia Car Accident Attorney
If your family has been a victim of a fatal car accident at the hands of a distracted driver, you have the right to seek justice. The experienced attorneys with The Miley Legal Group have more than 50 years of combined experienced and will fight for your rights for fair compensation. For a free book explaining The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim, call us today at 1-888-436-0859.