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DMV News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
More Than 28,600 Virginia Crashes Attributed to Driver Inattention

RICHMOND - To mark April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reminds Virginians of the dangers of distracted driving. In 2011, there were 28,619 crashes, 136 fatalities and 16,128 injuries attributed to driver distractions.

"People are dying and being seriously injured because of distracted driving," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "While we associate the dangers of cell phone conversations and texting with distracted driving, these are not the only behaviors that cause distractions. Drivers are eating, adjusting the radio, or dealing with pets and children. All those things put not only the driver and their family in danger, but this risky behavior jeopardizes everyone else traveling on the roadways."

A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows that 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes are the result of driver inattention.

In Virginia, drivers younger than 18 may not operate a vehicle while using a cell phone, or any other wireless telecommunications device, including those that are considered to be hands-free. Texting or reading text messages while driving is also illegal for all drivers, no matter their age. Texting while driving convictions are assessed three demerit points on a driver's record.

Here are some distracted driving facts for 2011 in Virginia:

  • Most distracted driving crashes involved drivers 21 to 35 years old
  • Most distracted driver crashes occurred at the end of the week on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, between noon and 6 p.m.
  • The top five driver distractions last year were, in order:
    • drivers not having their eyes on the road
    • fatigue
    • looking at a roadside incident
    • cell phone use
    • passenger distractions
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