It is essential that drivers in Virginia and elsewhere do all they can to eliminate distractions on the road. Distracted driving crashes led to 3,166 deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the number may, in reality, be higher. To reduce distractions, one must know what they are.

Calling, texting and all other phone use behind the wheel should be avoided. Drivers are also encouraged not to use hands-free devices because these can cause them to miss important signals. If there is an emergency, they can call after safely pulling over.

Drivers should also limit eating, drinking and conversations with an excessive number of passengers. They can hold a no-eating policy in the car and limit how many passengers they take on. Next, drivers should be vigilant against drowsy driving. Rather than push themselves on long trips, they should take a short (15 or 20 minutes) nap on the side of the road. Drowsiness can lead to a hard time focusing and staying in the same lane.

Lastly, the parents of teens should take a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving, and they should be the first to set a good example. Teens, after all, see the highest car crash and fatality rate of any age group.

Those who are injured in motor vehicle accidents through little or no fault of their own may want to see if they have grounds for a personal injury claim. They most likely will have good grounds if the other driver was distracted at the time of the crash, but they may need a lawyer and his or her team of investigators to help bring together all the evidence against the defendant. Their lawyer might also speak on their behalf during negotiations or during the trial.