Distracted driving has become an increasingly prevalent problem in North Carolina and throughout the United States. This dangerous behavior involves any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving, including using a cell phone, texting, eating, applying makeup, adjusting the radio, or interacting with passengers in the vehicle.
The consequences of distracted driving can be severe. In North Carolina alone, there were over 54,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving between 2015 and 2019, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. These crashes resulted in over 22,000 injuries and 195 fatalities. [Find distracted driving car accident lawyers]
While this number is alarming, it’s helpful to provide some context to help reveal how distracted driving accidents have evolved over time:
According to the NCDOT, the following are the numbers of reported distracted driving crashes in North Carolina going back to 2000:
It is important to note that because these numbers represent only reported crashes, the actual number of accidents caused by distracted driving is likely to be considerably higher. Additionally, the definition and reporting of distracted driving crashes may have evolved over time, so these numbers may not be directly comparable across years.
Regardless, the data highlights the persistent problem of distracted driving in North Carolina and underscores the need for continued efforts to reduce the prevalence of this dangerous behavior on the roads. You can clearly see how the problem has worsened over time, and it isn’t too difficult to arrive at the general cuplrit(s). More on this later.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“Nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving is doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.”
Again, according to the CDC:
“In the United States, over 3,100 people were killed and about 424,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019.
About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.”
What’s Causing This Increase In Distracted Driving Accidents?
One of the primary factors contributing to the prevalence of distracted driving is the widespread use of cell phones. The temptation to check notifications, send a quick text, or make a phone call can be difficult to resist, but doing so while driving can have deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At a speed of 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
But cell phones aren’t the only culprit when it comes to distracted driving. Eating, drinking, and other activities that take a driver’s hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road can also be dangerous. Even daydreaming or becoming lost in thought while driving can be a form of distraction.
The effects of distracted driving can be felt not only by the driver but also by passengers, other road users, and pedestrians. In addition to causing crashes and injuries, distracted driving can also lead to property damage, lost wages, and emotional trauma. In some cases, the consequences of a distracted driving crash can be permanent and life-altering, such as in cases of traumatic brain injury or paralysis.
Kellum Law Firm has certainly seen a significant and worrisome rise in the number of distracted driving cases our car accident attorneys are handling. The increase in distracted driving cases over the years can be seen to follow the trend shown by the NCDOT data provided above.
What’s Being Done About The Increase In Distracted Driving Related Accidents And Fatalities In NC?
In an effort to combat the problem of distracted driving, North Carolina has implemented laws that prohibit certain types of distracted driving behaviors. However, laws alone cannot solve the problem of distracted driving. It is up to individual drivers to take responsibility for their actions and make a conscious effort to eliminate distractions while driving.
Some tips for avoiding distracted driving include:
1 – Putting your phone on silent or in a location where you cannot see it while driving
2 – Programming your GPS or setting up music playlists before you start driving
3 – Avoiding eating or drinking while driving
4 – Pulling over to a safe location if you need to make a phone call or send a text message
5 – Encouraging passengers to help you stay focused on driving by refraining from distracting behavior
In addition to taking steps to eliminate distractions while driving, it’s also important for drivers to stay alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. This means obeying traffic laws, avoiding aggressive driving behaviors, and staying alert for potential hazards on the road.
The effects of distracted driving in North Carolina and throughout the country are a serious concern. By taking steps to eliminate distractions and staying focused on the task of driving, we can help reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities that result from this dangerous behavior.
If you’re the victim of a distracted driver, contact Kellum Law Firm to schedule a free consultation – Call 1-800-ACCIDENT today