We all know that driving while under the influence is a dangerous proposition at best, and a deadly one at worst. However, many people don’t realize that talking on the phone, eating, putting on make-up, or any number of other activities that take your focus off the roadway is equally as dangerous. Driving while distracted reduces a driver’s reaction time to a level similar to someone driving while intoxicated, which is why so many accidents are caused by driver inattention. The National Traffic Safety Administration has found that distracted motorists cause sixteen percent of fatal car crashes in America, and twenty-one percent of wrecks that result in injuries.
In light of these figures, the Kanawa County Sherriff’s Department aims to create West Virginia’s first distracted driving program. The Charleston Gazette reports that 301 accidents in the county were caused by distracted drivers in 2009 and 2010, and the aim of the program is to educate the populace just how dangerous dividing your attention while operating a vehicle can be. The plan is to make presentations at local schools and businesses, and have participants drive a course in a golf cart — on the first go-around people can focus solely on turning and stopping, and the second time an officer will converse with the driver while someone else texts them as they drive the circuit. The officers hope that driving the course will give folks first-hand experience with the dangers of driving distracted, and will get everyone to start paying attention to what’s important when they’re behind the wheel… the road.
As a law office that sees first hand the damage that is done to the parties involved in automobile accidents, we here at the Wolfe Law Firm are encouraged by the Kanawa County Sherriff’s Department’s plan to educate the communities it serves about the dangers of distracted driving. However, as the numbers above show, there are still many injured every year by the inattention and negligence of other drivers. If you’ve been hit by someone who wasn’t paying proper attention to the road, then you may have a legal claim for damages and should consult a West Virginia car accident attorney as soon as possible.