Richmond Personal Injury Law Firm Applauds Virginia Lawmakers For Recognizing Dangers of Texting While Driving

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Virginia personal injury attorneys of Marks & Harrison say bill that would ban adult drivers from texting while driving could prevent distracted driving-related accidents, injuries and deaths.

A bill that would prohibit Virginia’s adult drivers from texting while driving drew praise this week from the Virginia personal injury law firm of Marks & Harrison.

The bill, H.B. 2307, would make it unlawful for any person to use a “handheld personal communications device” to send a text message or to read any e-mail or text message with the device while operating a motor vehicle on a Virginia highway.

The offense would be a “secondary” traffic violation, meaning that a police officer could not issue a citation unless the officer had cause to stop or arrest the driver for some other violation, such as speeding, driving while intoxicated or some other form of reckless driving that leads to car accidents.

The bill, which is currently in the House Militia, Police and Public Safety committee, comes a year after Virginia enacted a law that prohibited drivers under age 18 from talking on cell phones or texting while driving.

Marks & Harrison says it endorses any laws that help to curb the danger of distracted driving.

For several years, the firm has warned about the risks of anyone – especially younger drivers – using any handheld electronic device while behind the wheel of a car, truck or other vehicle, including cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Blackberrys, laptops or GPS devices.

The safety risks of driving while texting have been well-documented, the firm says, pointing to a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) which found that motorists who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a vehicle accident than those who do not.

At the time that study was released, Tom Dingus, director of the VTTI, told the New York Times that the study sent a clear message. “You should never do this,” he said of texting while driving. “It should be illegal.”

Despite this risk of accident, injury and death, however, people continue to use electronic devices while driving. As noted in a recent Washington Post article, a 2007 study by the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company estimated that 73 percent of drivers use phones while driving and 20 percent text while behind the wheel.

And as recently reported in USA Today, 35 percent of the respondents in a State Farm Insurance survey said they sent or received text messages at least once a week while driving.

About Marks & Harrison

Established in 1911, Marks & Harrison represents clients in a variety of practice areas, including personal injury, wrongful death, car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, alcohol/drug-related accidents and pedestrian injuries. The firm features offices located in the Virginia cities of Richmond, Petersburg, Louisa, Charlottesville, Tappahannock, Hopewell, Staunton and Fredericksburg. To learn more about the firm and its car accident attorneys, call (800) 283-2202 or use the firm’s online form.

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