State police have identified the driver killed in a wreck in Henrico County early Friday morning. Lorenzo Shepherd, 32, of Henrico County, was killed in a single vehicle car wreck on Interstate 295.
Virginia State Police responded to a call at approximately 12:30 a.m. at the interstate access road near Woodman Road. Shepherd was traveling north on I-295 when his car, a Honda sedan, left the road and overrode the guardrail, striking several trees before overturning near the ramp for I-95 south.
Shepherd, who was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected from the vehicle. There were no passengers riding with him. The investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Dangers of distracted driving
Every day, eight people are killed in accidents involving distracted driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A distraction is defined as anything that takes the driver’s attention away from driving, whether it involves looking away from the road to view a text message, taking one or both hands off the wheel while using a navigation system or playing music, or taking a call while driving.
While these are just a few examples, distracted driving becomes even more dangerous when drivers are also under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In 2018 alone, an estimated 400,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a distracted driver, also resulting in more than 2,800 fatalities.
According to the CDC, a driver reading a text while driving 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Prevention is key
Although there are strict bans on cellphone use while driving in Virginia, including calling, texting or the use of GPS or music apps, they are hard to enforce. However, these laws do highlight the need for more awareness.
Some preventative measures that states have put in place include putting in rumble strips that keep inattentive or drowsy drivers from straying out of their lanes. Automakers are installing crash avoidance systems which issue warnings to distracted drivers if they detect a potential collision.
It is never easy for a family to have to deal with the traumatic injury or death of a loved one injured in a car accident. If the accident was caused by distracted driving, with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney it is possible to hold the negligent party responsible. While financial compensation will never restore life or completely heal injuries, it can help the healing process and provide closure.