Most drivers believe there is no more dangerous a situation than drunk driving. The effects of a drunk driving accident can be terrifying, from fiery crashes to the lives lost as a result. However, thanks to ubiquitous cell phone technology, there is now another behavior that can produce very similar results: texting while driving.

According to one Virginia State Police trooper, the behavior of a driver who is texting mimics that of a driver who is intoxicated. Drivers who text tend to swerve, which can result in crossing lanes or a head-on collision. Studies tend to agree with the trooper. A study from the University of Utah revealed that reaction time tends to be delayed as much by texting as it is by having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. In Virginia, this BAC level means that a driver can be ticketed for DUI.

In Virginia, there are strict laws against both drunk driving and texting while driving. A trooper can stop a person seen texting while behind the wheel, and the texting driver can be fined $150 for their first offense. Virginia police can also subpoena a driver’s phone records to prove texting. According to a study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the possibilities of an accident can double or even triple when a texting driver attempts phone-related tasks.

Thanks to far-reaching traditions of alcohol consumption, as well as newer technology trends, the risks of a crash for Virginia drivers can never be eliminated. Drivers who are hit by a drunk driver, a texting driver or a driver that is both intoxicated and on their phone have legal recourse to obtain compensation for their injuries. A successful civil personal injury lawsuit can, not only compensate accident victims for certain losses, but also send the message that irresponsibility is not taken lightly in Virginia.

Source: Bristol Herald Courier, “VSP gives drivers who text a warning: I C U,” Kevin Castle, Oct. 24, 2013