Virginia Auto Accident Attorney: Distracted Driving--What Drivers are Doing Moments Before Crashing

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.


Car accidents are still the leading cause of deaths among 5-24 year olds and the second leading cause of deaths for everyone else. A new study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researched 1,600 drivers over a 1-2 year period. Numerous cameras, sensors, and radars were installed in the vehicles to track data from these drivers.

Over this span of time, there were 1,600 crash events, and 905 of them were severe accidents. Some of the things observed in the serious crashes included fatigue, driver error, impairment, and distraction. The risk of an accident doubled when drivers took their eyes off the road and used a cellphone, were reading, or using touchscreen devices in the car. Throughout the entire study, statistics showed that nearly half the time drivers were involved in distracting activities. The strongest correlation found by the study is when speeding occurs. When a driver is travelling well above the speed limit and involved in a distracting activity, the risk of an accident is thirteen times higher than for an alert, law-abiding driver. Drivers who were emotional were ten times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Interestingly, some activities that have been known to be considered distracting in the past, proved to not be as much of a factor in creating accidents. For example, applying makeup and interacting with a baby in the car were the cause of very few accidents.

Even though the number of fatal accidents continues to decrease as car become safer, there are still far too many of these types of accidents. So many of these accidents can be prevented because they are caused by distractions and driver impairment. If all drivers could keep their cellphones out of their hands while driving and only driving when sober, the number of fatal accidents would likely drop significantly.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a caraccident in Virginia caused by the fault or negligence of another person and would like to consult an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (703) 734-8790 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations inViennaor throughout Virginia or visit us online at