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Texting is most dangerous driving distraction in VA

Posted at 9:34 AM, May 28, 2011
and last updated 2012-02-28 09:20:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – In fact, there were over 140,000 motor vehicle crashes in Virginia over the past five years that involved driver distraction.

That number amounts to three crashes every hour.

As a result, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is urging the public to make a commitment to put down their cell phones while driving.

“Practicing attentive and cautious driving is as important as wearing a seatbelt, and properly installing and using child safety seats,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley. “We urge you to make a commitment to focus your full attention on the road while driving.”

One of the most dangerous distractions is texting behind the wheel. A person texting while driving is 23 times more likely to crash. Cell phone use is also very dangerous; research shows that people who are using their cell phone while driving are four times more likely to get into a crash than someone who is driving without distraction from the phone (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2006).

To keep everyone on Virginia’s roads safe, VDH recommends the following safety tips:

  • Don’t use your phone while driving.
  • Preset the radio, GPS and other electronics before driving.
  • Let others know that you will not be taking their calls when you are driving.
  • Update your voicemail message to include an “I’m driving” message.
  • Pull over to a safe place if you need to do things that require concentration.

Spread the word! Let others know how dangerous distractions can be.