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Harrisonburg Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Virginia drivers must stop distracted driving, authorities say

For Virginia drivers, the convenience of modern technology has exponentially increased the threats posed by those who engage in distracted driving. Especially when these drivers are young and inexperienced, adding a smart phone to the steering wheel is a recipe for disaster.

Not all distracted driving cases are new. For decades, accidents have occurred when a driver looked away from the road to change the radio station or to switch cassettes. As vehicle technology has advanced, drivers have had increased numbers of gadgets to draw away their attention from the roadways. Even technology that is meant to make driving easier, like navigational systems, has played a part in distracted driving accidents. As more and more drivers take advantage of these new devices, it appears that they are paying less attention to the road and other drivers.

School bus crash leaves 3 dead, 23 injured

Virginia parents may be shocked to learn that three people were killed and 23 people were injured when two Tennessee school buses collided with each other on Dec. 2. The report stated that two of the three people killed were children, and the third was an adult aide for one of the schools.

The bus crash reportedly occurred on a highway in Knoxville around 3 p.m. No other information regarding how the incident occurred was available, though it was noted that a light rain had been falling and that there had been some fog and mist that day. One of the buses reportedly landed on its side following the collision. It was also determined that one of the buses was occupied by students in kindergarten through second grade, while the second bus was occupied by children in third through fifth grade.

Pedestrian safety

Virginia residents may be interested to know some facts related to pedestrian injuries and deaths. Though 76,000 pedestrians were injured in 2012, only 12 percent of pedestrian injuries were caused from vehicle collisions. Most injuries occur because of tripping and falling over cracks, uneven surfaces, rocks or holes in the walkway.

The majority of the 4,743 pedestrians killed in 2012 were male, and most of the accidents occurred in urban areas. A third of pedestrian fatalities involved a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol. The average age of pedestrians killed in 2012 was 46.

Woman killed in West Virginia car accident

A 44-year-old man faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter after his tractor-trailer flipped and landed on an SUV. The victim inside of the SUV was a 54-year-old woman. The accident took place around 5:50 a.m. on Nov. 13. Authorities say the truck driver was going west on the road, crossed the centerline, overcorrected and then overturned.

In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charge, the man was also charged with being in possession of a controlled substance and driving as a habitual offender. According to reports, he was in possession of prescription pills at the time of the accident. Police say the truck was transporting chicken wings when the crash occurred. Due to the accident, the road had to be shut down in both directions until around 2:30 p.m.

Virginia dump truck driver charged in fatal crash

Virginia authorities have charged the driver of a dump truck involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident in Prince William County with operating a truck with defective equipment on Nov. 7. A 59-year-old tractor-trailer driver from Richmond was killed in the crash.

Just before 11 p.m., Virginia State Police were notified that a broken down dump truck was blocking the northbound center lane of I-95 near the 149-mile mark and dispatched a trooper to the scene. However, a tractor-trailer hit the dump truck less than two minutes later, causing both trucks to overturn.

Virginia head-on accident injures 3, kills 1

A head-on collision in Alleghany County has left an 18-year-old man dead and a 54-year-old woman and her two female passengers injured. The accident reportedly occurred in the afternoon on Oct. 25.

According to police, the man was northbound on Virginia 159 in a compact car when he crossed the centerline. His speeding car crashed head-on into the woman's pickup truck.

1 killed in wrong way collision in Virginia

A man was killed in a wrong way collision in Franklin County on Oct. 25. All the lanes near the scene of the crash were blocked as a result of the accident.

According to Virginia State Police, the fatal car accident occurred after 5 p.m. on Route 40, east of Route 706 in Franklin County. A westbound 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, driven by a 57-year-old Chatham man, crossed over the center line and into the path of oncoming traffic, colliding with an eastbound 1993 Toyota pickup driven by a 42-year-old Gladehill man.

Auto-pedestrian accident injures biker in Virginia

Police report that on Oct. 11, an auto-pedestrian accident in Virginia Beach left a bicyclist injured. The report did not disclose the nature and extent of the victim's injuries.

The accident transpired at an intersection around 4:30 p.m. when a sedan reportedly struck a biker. First responders took the adult victim to a nearby hospital for treatment of unreported injuries.

The real cost of car accidents in Virginia and nationwide

While annual statistics regarding the costs of motor vehicle accidents are compiled both in Virginia and nationwide, the actual cost of death or injury related to car accidents goes beyond an accounting of the money spent on medical bills and car repairs. The loss of life, suffering, time away from work and the cost of long-term illnesses associated with the trauma of an accident, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, are more difficult to accurately account for. However, these related costs can have a greater impact on accident victims overall.

In 2012, over 33,000 people died nationwide as the result of car accidents, and another two million were injured. In Virginia that same year, 775 died, and an additional 67,000 were injured. Of those, 542 deaths were related either to alcohol or speeding.

Statistics on drunk driving

While Virginia residents may know that drunk driving is dangerous, some may not know just how serious the problem is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, three people were killed every two hours in alcohol-related crashes on the highway; a total of 13,365 deaths were caused by automobile crashes involving alcohol in that year alone.

While fatalities are the most serious type of damage drunk driving can inflict, injuries and property damage are also very common. Per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, these types of accidents cost Americans approximately $37 billion annually. Much is being done to combat drunk driving, and 1.4 million DUI arrests took place in 2010, according to data from the FBI.