It’s frustrating when you’ve done your best to be a good driver and follow the rules, but you get in a crash anyway. All too often, another driver was at fault — and they may have been driving distracted.
The problem of distracted driving has always been serious, but the rise of smartphones has brought it to the fore. It seems as if everyone is using their smartphones behind the wheel, whether it’s to get driving directions or to communicate with others.
According to the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, 77% of American drivers admit they take calls when driving. Another 44% admitted texting or emailing behind the wheel. Other research has put the numbers about the same for texting and emailing, even though 96.8% recognize that doing so while driving was dangerous.
In January 2018, the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety issued a report on the prevalence of distraction-related crashes. Compared to drivers who weren’t observably distracted, people who manually use cellphones while driving had nearly double the crashes. Texting was especially tied to increased crash risk, but all hand-held cellphone use was found to be problematic. And some studies have found that hands-free cellphone use isn’t much safer, if at all.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites cellphone use as a factor in crash reports, and it estimates that about 420 crashes per year involved cellphone use, or about 14% of distraction-related crashes.
Texting while driving is against the law in North Carolina
As of this year, 22 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws banning drivers from using hand-held cellphones. In North Carolina, texting while driving is an infraction under N.C. Gen. Stat. §20-137.4A, meaning that a driver can be pulled over and cited for violating the law. However, a proposed ban on all hand-held cellphone use failed to pass in the North Carolina legislature last year.
While it is illegal to text while driving, the bigger issue is the risk to other drivers from a distracted driver on the roadway. If you or a loved one has been in a North Carolina collision with a distracted driver, there is a good chance that driver would be considered negligent for causing the crash. If you or your loved one have been injured, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney as soon as possible.