Distracted driving is a serious concern both in West Virginia and across the United States. With more people having access to cell phones and infotainment systems in vehicles than ever before, the number of distraction-related motor vehicle accidents continues to rise. Texting and driving is one of the most common and most dangerous forms of distracted driving.

Out of concern over the number of people using their phones behind the wheel, authorities and other groups have worked hard to communicate the dangers associated with texting and driving. While most people are aware that it is risky, they continue to do so. In fact, the number of people who admit to texting and driving has increased.

Statistics indicate that distracted driving is a growing issue, which means it continues to be a leading cause for car accidents. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of people who use their phones while driving has increased by 57 percent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that this specific type of reckless behavior is the reason for approximately 800 accidents in West Virginia each year.

When a person is looking at his or her phone, talking, adjusting the road or doing anything other than paying full attention to driving, it is dangerous. Distraction significantly increases the chance of motor vehicle accidents, and each driver is responsible for making safe choices while behind the wheel. Doing things like setting a destination in the GPS before leaving or pulling over to read texts can make the roads safer for everyone. In the event that a distracted driving does cause injury to another person, the driver is liable for damages.