Virginia law enforcement may pull over a driver in Virginia who is visibly texting while driving, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Legislators passed this law to emphasize the seriousness of distracted driving, in hopes that the threat of a $125 fine for a first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses will keep people from using their cellphones behind the wheel.
To be fully engaged in driving, a person should have both hands on the wheel, eyes scanning the road and surroundings, and mind focused on all the tasks involved. Eating, looking at scenery and talking with a passenger are secondary tasks that can distract from focused driving and cause a crash. But, when people text, they take at least one hand off the wheel, look away from the road and engage their minds somewhere else, all at the same time.
The most common distracted driving crashes are rear-ending other vehicles and driving off the road into a stationary object. Teens are the age group most likely to cause a distracted driving crash. They typically have not developed any muscle memory or automatic responses to driving situations yet, and they also are more likely to be using a cellphone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that one of the reasons people who are texting are so much more likely to run into something is that they are essentially driving blindfolded. The average text message takes about five seconds to read or send, and at 55 mph, that is about the equivalent of the length of a football field.
Distracted driving crashes kill about nine people per day and injure over 1,000. Roughly 10% of motor vehicle accident deaths each year are the result of distracted driving.