Distracted driving can involve a variety of actions on the part of a driver. Whether it’s putting on makeup, eating or blaring loud music, distracting oneself behind the wheel always has the potential for disaster. Talking on a cell phone while driving also can result in distracted driving and texting while driving is likely one of the biggest risks of all. After a recent deadly accident in northern Virginia, the police investigation now is focusing on the driver’s behavior prior to the crash.

The accident happened earlier this month in Woodbridge, near Spriggs Road. A 17-year-old driver struck a 66-year-old bicyclist after her vehicle traveled up onto a curb and then the sidewalk. Tragically, the man riding his bike was not only hit, but also dragged until the car came to a halt. Authorities pronounced the bicyclist dead at the scene. The area of the road where the accident happened was closed while investigators examined the scene. Officials believe the driver of the car may have been texting when the collision occurred.

This incident took place in front of a high school, although it is not known if there were any witnesses. Regardless, the incident serves as a lesson to drivers both young and old; a negligent driver has the potential to cause any number of fatal car accidents, including those where pedestrians are struck. Even if they are carefully following the rules of the road, a walker, jogger or bicyclist has few defenses against a careening vehicle.

In cases where cars strike and kill pedestrians or other drivers and deliberate intent is not suspected, investigators will look to see if negligence was at play. Negligence is a legal principle involving one person’s careless behavior that results in another’s injury or death. While it may seem simple to understand, there can be many intricacies, especially if the death is of an older person. If negligence led to the loss of a loved one, family members may be eligible to bring the case to court and obtain compensation for funeral expenses and other costs linked to their loved one’s untimely passing.

Source: NBC 4 Washington, “Investigators probe whether teen in fatal accident was texting,” Matthew Stabley, Sept. 6, 2013