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Deaths from distracted driving on the rise

Distracted DrivingDistracted driving is a fast-growing epidemic in Virginia and across the nation. In 2017 more than 200 people were killed and more than 14,600 injured in accidents in Virginia that were a direct result of distracted driving, according to Shannon Valentine, the state’s secretary of transportation.

“Our insurance industry also is feeling the effects of this epidemic as we continue to see claims increase as a result of distracted driving. This results in higher insurance premiums for everyone,” noted Darlene Wells, executive vice president and general manager of Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.VFBMIC is a founding member of Drive Smart Virginia, a nonprofit organization that focuses on raising traffic safety awareness. Wells serves on the organization’s board of directors.

In December, Gov. Ralph Northam established an Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety that is charged with reducing the rising number of fatalities on Virginia’s roadways.

Virginia has a new highway safety portal available at that offers safety recommendations related to everything from aggressive driving to teen driving safety, along with distracted driving information.

As part of this initiative, Virginians are invited to act against distraction on state roadways by participating in the “YourSayVA Digital Town Hall on Distracted Driving” when they take an anonymous survey.

“The more our state leadership hears from the citizens of Virginia that we are concerned, the more likely changes will happen,” Wells said.

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augusta free press
augusta free press