Virginia Highway Safety Office News ReleasesFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Media Contact: Brandy Brubaker
Department of Motor Vehicles
DMV Urges Drivers to Keep Eyes on the Road
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
RICHMOND - In recognition of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reminds citizens about the dangers of inattention while operating a vehicle.
In 2015, more than 26,000 crashes were attributed to distracted drivers statewide - resulting in 156 fatalities and 14,868 injuries.
Top causes of distracted driving crashes include cell phone usage, passengers, rubbernecking, and adjusting a radio or music player. Texting while driving is illegal and considered a primary offense in Virginia. A texting while driving conviction carries a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fine for second-or-subsequent offenses.
"You would expect that a fine that hefty would encourage drivers to postpone texting while driving, but unfortunately that is not the case," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Drivers need to have their full attention on the road while operating a motor vehicle; otherwise, they're risking the lives of everyone sharing the road."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorists are 23 times more likely to get into a crash while driving distracted. Younger drivers have the greatest proportion of distracted driving crashes. Of this group, 11 percent of all drivers who die in crashes were reportedly distracted, NHTSA said.
Here are a few tips to avoid distraction behind the wheel:
- Adjust your seat, mirrors, radio and GPS before you start to drive. Ask passengers to help you once you hit the road.
- Shut off your cell phone or place it out of reach. If you need to make a call or send a text, safely pull over and park your vehicle.
- Don't eat, apply makeup or engage in other behaviors that take your focus off the road.
- Secure your pets. It is safer for them and for you.
- Make sure you get plenty of rest. If you're drowsy, you won't be able to concentrate.