We all do crazy and dangerous acts each time we drive our cars, trucks, vans, or other motor vehicles. We drink coffee on the way to work. We yell at energetic kids in the back seat. Some of us read and write texts while driving or eat lunch while we’re on our way down the road. We take our eyes off the road to see who is calling us
and to decide whether we need to call them back right NOW. Each of these acts are stupid things to do but more importantly, can be deadly to you, your passengers, and/or strangers in the car or truck that you might crash into when performing them.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have put together a very effective website on the dangers of distracted driving at www.Distraction.gov. You may have seen the all too realistic TV ad featuring a car full of young people out for a drive and the driver has one hand on her smartphone
and the other hand on the wheel.
The statistics from the website should get your attention:
• An estimated 3,328 Americans were killed in car crashes where distracted driving was a factor in 2012. That’s more than nine people a day.
• About 421,000 Americans were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2012 (up from about 387,000 the previous year). That comes to about 48 people injured every hour of every day.
• At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
• About 71% of teens and young drivers admit to creating and sending texts while driving, 78% stated they read texts while driving.
• Drivers in their 20’s make up 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
• Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field.
• Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. North Carolina law does not make it a crime to use a handheld device while driving, unless you’re a novice driver or driving a school bus. Texting while driving is illegal in the state. Regardless of whether these practices are legal or not, they’re just plain unsafe and stupid to do while driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, because of their negligence, there may be a valid legal claim for compensation due to injuries. Contact my office so we can discuss the situation and your potential legal options. Most importantly, don’t be a distracted driver yourself so you’re not the one at the wrong end of a personal injury lawsuit.