Results of digital town hall on distracted driving released

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The results of the first online safety feedback forum on distracted driving have been released.

Governor Ralph Northam shared the results of the #YourSayVA Digital Town Hall on Tuesday.

It took place in December, and more than 2,000 people participated in the 11-question anonymous survey.

"We know that distracted driving is a fast-growing epidemic in the Commonwealth and the 93 percent of town hall participants who agreed is a clear indication that this serious safety issue is a concern to nearly all Virginians," said Northam. "Changing the culture of distraction on our roadways is each of our responsibility, and with this input, we can work together to promote safe driving behavior, reverse this dangerous trend, and save countless lives."

According to a release, respondents rated distracted driving as the most serious of seven highway safety issues, closely followed by drunk driving.

For third and fourth, Virginians ranked aggressive driving and drugged driving respectively. Drowsy driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts rounded out the seven safety issues that were provided for ranking.

The release says most of the respondents used words like dangerous, irresponsible, selfish and deadly to describe distracted drivers.

Still, Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine says nearly 80 percent of the people who took the survey admitted to sometimes using their cellphones while driving, though they also said their friends and family have the power of influence to make them put it down.

"With the awareness created by this town hall, we hope Virginians will motivate each other to ditch distractions and focus on the task of driving," said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. "Seventy percent of respondents said that, as passengers, they have asked a driver to put their phone away on at least one occasion. Virginians are clearly tired of sharing the roads with distracted, unsafe drivers who put their loved ones at risk."

The results of the town hall were compiled by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for the Governor's Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety.

In 2018, 126 people were killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Commonwealth.

To view the full report on the town hall, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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