Wyche Road map

This map provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation shows the new alignment for Wyche Road intersection on Courthouse Road.

I CAME across an old-school distracted driver the other day.

It happened during a merge onto Interstate 95 from State Route 3 in typical midmorning weekday traffic, which usually makes the merge easy. But one car just kept cruising along, blocking my path to the right lane.

I slowed to get in behind the lollygagger, noticing as the car passed that the driver was busy flipping open a folder on the steering wheel.

As I passed on the left, the driver continued reading the folder contents, the car seeming to drive on its own (nope, it wasn’t a Tesla).

This is the driving world we live in, folks.

It’s not just cellphones that grab our attention while driving.

Distractions, distractions, everywhere distractions—so many it’s becoming a challenge to watch out for the distracted drivers.

grading Virginia’s driver cellphone laws

Let’s get real, though—cellphones are the key element in the distracted driving problem.

A recent report focuses more on this newer and growing form of distracted driving, giving states grades for how many cellphone distracted driving laws each has.

Virginia earned a “B” grade for having three cellphone distracted driving laws: a cellphone ban for drivers younger than 18; a similar ban for school bus drivers; and a texting ban for all drivers.

LetsTalk.com, a website dedicated to finding cellphone deals, produced the report.

Eight states earned a grade of “A” for having four cellphone distracted driving laws. One state, Montana, got an “F” for having no such laws.

It’s difficult to gather comprehensive data on distracted driving, but LetsTalk.com pulled available statistics for its report to highlight some telling findings:

More than 9 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. in 2016 were related to distracted driving.

Drivers in their 20s are most likely to be involved in deadly distracted driving crashes.

More men are involved in distracted driving crashes than women.

The report writers suggest that cellphone laws for drivers have a positive impact on deadly crashes. The report found that states with no cellphone laws for drivers had a higher rate of fatal crashes than those with such laws.

States with no cellphone laws for drivers have a fatal crash rate of 17.7 per 100,000 while a state with three such laws has a rate of 10.83 per 100,000, the report found.

Traffic shift set for Stafford road

Drivers familiar with the Courthouse Road widening and interchange projects in North Stafford should see another change this week.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release that a shift for the realigned Wyche Road will open Thursday at a new intersection on Courthouse Road.

With the shift, Courthouse Road traffic will no longer be able to access Wyche Road from the entrance to the temporary commuter lot and traffic signal.

The shift doesn’t mean work at the intersection is complete.

Drivers will continue to experience such things as temporary traffic patterns, changing pavement conditions and markings, as well as an additional traffic shift on Wyche Road later in the project. A stoplight also will be erected at the new intersection.

Work on the Courthouse Road widening west of I–95 is expected to be completed by Dec. 20, 2019, and work on the interchange should be wrapped up by July 31, 2020.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436 sshenk@freelancestar.com